Facilities Management: Firefly

By Alf Nathoo BA, Msc(FM), MBIFM, FMCMI, MBIC

While preparing for the foundation training last week, I gave some thought to the question that I get asked at every training in some form or other, how can we create awareness about FM and what we do as FM Managers? Creating awareness and demonstrating the contribution of FM is essential to move FM from the boiler room to a more strategic management function and have your contribution fully recognised and appreciated.

I was reading an article about Michael Neill, an internationally renowned transformative coach and the best-selling author of five books including The Inside-Out Revolution and The Space Within. Michael usually plays the song “Firefly” by Owl City at his training sessions. Fireflies or lightning bugs are winged beetles that conspicuously produce light from chemicals in their abdomen. Michael uses this metaphor for the work that he does in coaching, “that when enough people light up from within, their collective light will illuminate the world”. This is a very inspiring metaphor.

While there is some awareness about FM in the region, the “FM light” is still a long ways away from being visible. Think about the metaphor of the sky filled with thousands of fireflies, every one of them lit from within by their new understanding of FM, their renewed passion for FM and their drive to be successful FM Managers. Each one of the firefly will go back to their organization with the FM light fully visible for all to see and demonstrating the value FM can add to their organization. The FM fireflies will also inspire and awaken other FM Managers to see how they can illuminate their inner FM light, be better FM Managers and contribute to the success of their organization. This FM light will never fade and as more FM Managers illuminate their FM light, collectively the light will illuminate the region about FM!

This is not far-fetched. If each of the 500 FM Managers in the Tribe were to contact, inspire and share the FM light with just one other FM Manager from another organization who is not in the Tribe, the FM light output has the potential of being doubled! The exponential increase in FM light power can very quickly become a powerful beacon to guide you to take your rightful place in your organization and gain the recognition you deserve as a Facilities Manager.



What can be done:

  1. Think proactively about how you can create awareness about FM in your organization? Do you have any opportunities to talk about FM or perhaps hold an event like FM day or an FM initiative event?
  2. Seize every opportunity to talk about FM to other departments and your clients/users. Remember, speak in their language and not FM speak! Presentations, newsletter, posters, email updates and informal meetings are excellent communication methods to deliver your FM message.
  3. Document your successes and share it within your organizations and with other FM Managers in the Tribe.
  4. Reach out to other FM Mangers in other organizations. Share your views on FM, find opportunities to collaborate/benchmark, share your successes with them and support them as best as you can.