It’s all about the people…

All in the people...

A great Guest Blog from Anthony Murphy MITIE FM (Senior Operations Manager on the IFM contract for Sellafield, all service streams, throughout the UK)

In this Blog Anthony affirms why #FM is all about getting things done through other people and how getting to know them as individuals can lead to the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Anthony also explains how for #FM’s their journey is about continued learning and development…

 It’s a People Thing…

I have worked in FM and some of its associated disciplines for nearly 14 years now. Prior to that I worked within high volume manufacturing and assembly for 11 years. Initially I trained as an electrical engineer and then went on at the age of 26 to begin my journey into management,  then responsible for a team of engineers and technicians.

Taking time now to look back and consolidate my learning and experiences I have what I call a number of success criteria. The most important of all being what I call “getting to know your people”. In my early days of moving into management I was fortunate to receive some basic training. Although deemed as basic training I still to this day place a great deal of importance on some of the things I learnt during that time, of which one comment of all still features heavily in what I do. Having never directly managed people prior to that time I found myself looking for the way in to what appeared to be such a daunting task. I asked the lecturer the question as to where to start, to which he replied ” get to know your people

I took the time to expand on this with him of which the outcome was. Get to know what makes your team tick, get to know their drivers, their motivators, their de-motivators, their birthdays, what they do in their spare time, do they have a family, what really inspires them and what do they have a flare or genuine interest for etc and with that the circle of information grew. with experience now I fully appreciate the importance of what I was being told all those years ago. Especially in FM we deliver so much of what gives us our brand and organisational identity through others. I guess the same could be said for most industries and organisations. We all rely on others to deliver the end result.

I use this now in all contexts, not just for those I work directly with but clients, internal and external customers. In my time I have added to this by reading and developing my own understanding. Books such as “How to Make Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carneige and “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey being amongst my two favourite. Both books underpin my own personal beliefs that anything learnt or gleaned is used to enhance understanding.

So much of what we do relies on other people. With that said I often wonder how much time do we spend getting to know those people? We all have our role to play as both individuals, members of teams and possibly managers & leaders. With me I make simple assessments and try to avoid the In-depth Emotional Intelligence touchy-feely stuff. It needn’t be scientific. In addition to the points previously mentioned simple things enable me to gauge those with whom I work, so as to enable me to understand what makes them tick. Once I know that I can develop my service delivery requirements around them because attitude influences behaviour. A few of my simple assessment being:

– Does the person get involved with things that might not necessarily be their core function or responsibility?  Does your cleaner tell you the light is out in the toilet or the tap is dripping badly.

– Does the Engineer or Security guard come and report the hand towels have ran out or that the bins are overflowing.

– Does that person in front of you stop to pick up that piece of paper even though they didn’t drop it?

– Does that person coming into work of a morning and take the time to mention a car that has left its lights on or window open?

– Does that new manager or supervisor take the time to challenge behaviours he/she may have observed unbeknown to those concerned or does he/she look the other way?

The list goes on trust me but none of these characteristics are earth shattering or though to be the making of the next CEO. However, the rights or wrongs are not mine to judge but once observed I have a better understanding of that person. The beauty of this is that it takes the form of a picture that develops over time, which can only help you and the individual to jointly deliver the goals and aspirations of the team & organisation. Being aware that for example someone has a young family and that their child has now started school, which may mean they can’t stay late into the evening any more is vital to both parties and never more so if identified in advance.  A basic example granted and one most of us would perceive anyway but is wonder what you will uncover if you take the time to “get to know your people”

The very same can be said for our Clients, internal & external customers, what motivates, drives and above all frustrates them and why. At the end of the day we are all here for a mixture of reasons. Some of which have more of an importance than others depending on who you are. In my opinion and having had the benefit of doing this I can say that even the smallest of efforts pays a proportional reward.

…..For me it’s a learning experience that never ends!

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