By Shane Arnold, Business Unit Director, myfm –
Furlough, R-number, mRNA, anti-vaxxers, Zoom – few of us were aware of these terms a year or so ago, but now they are in our everyday conversations. So much has changed in so little time.
I wrote early last year about how I saw potential changes in the FM and the wider built-environment sectors accelerating as a result of the pandemic.
I knew then, as I still do, of the need to be flexible and at the same time not to lose focus of our industry core values, including that our people are our single greatest asset.
So, what has changed over the past 12 months? Well, my belief in putting people at the heart of all we do still stands as firm as ever. As we move from survival mode to what we sincerely hope this time will be revival, this fundamental understanding is as relevant as ever today. The expertise to deliver, the strength to perform in adversity, the character to embrace change and the empathy to understand the challenges of others have never been more crucial.
As I pen these thoughts, listening to the Prime Minister deliver his latest update, including a broad roadmap out of lockdown 3.0, I also believe it is important to emphasise one or two important additions.
Communication, trust and honesty
Being in a position of leadership at any time and in any institution is a difficult task. I am in awe of the ability those who are delivering in adversity. This has been exemplified by so many in the last 12 months – I can think of no better or more recent example than the ongoing vaccination effort.
Notwithstanding this, there have been times over the last year when I have questioned why government messaging hasn’t been clearer, why it hasn’t been more honest and why it has frequently felt incomplete. Please be assured that I wish to make no political points here, I am merely making behavioural observations. Also, I know from conversations with friends, family, colleagues and contacts that I am not alone in thinking this.
I understand that on a geo-political level, things are rarely as straightforward as they may seem to a casual observer. However, the fundamental truths and benefits of fostering trusting relationships, based on regular communication, honesty and the ability to address the inconvenient truths are as relevant to national and local businesses as they are to central government. And this is especially true when things are not progressing as desired, or previously envisaged.
I was taught in my formative years in Chartered Accountancy to always tell the truth and set yourself up for success – under-promise and over-deliver, never the opposite. I believe this is as true today as it ever was and these are wise words to take on board as we move from survival to revival.
In a world where so much has changed, I would urge you to rely on your values of integrity and the key relationships you have built. Through honesty, including when things haven’t gone to plan, we can together agree the steps which should be taken to resolve outstanding issues. Alongside honesty, we should all be doing our utmost to deliver and keep people informed of progress.
It is highly likely that in your network you will have many contacts that you have either worked with, bumped into at an event (remember those) or been referred to by a trusted contact. The value of the last of these, the referrals, is regularly underplayed in my view. But at this crucial time, it is especially important to align with those who have the same values of integrity, honesty and trustworthiness.
Is there a better way to do this than by working with someone referred by a trusted contact, as they are the most likely to display the values you are seeking? Also, those same contacts who are happy to recommend someone to you are also putting their trust in you as someone who is like-minded when it comes to these important values.
We are facing uncertain times and we are facing upheaval but by remaining true to what matters most – our core values – we will find a way through this. The more things change, the more they stay the same, especially if you are true to yourself when it comes to integrity, honesty and trustworthiness.
myfm is leading provider of specialist interim capacity in the FM sector. Alongside this, we provide a rapid response on projects. Even if you don’t have an immediate need for our services, we are always happy to have a discussion, contact Shane Arnold email: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.