FM and the Election (Part 3 of 3)

So the electorate have spoken and we find ourselves with a group of egocentric politicians desperately trying to find a way to work together instead of indulging in their natural sport of point-scoring self interest. Collaboration, it seems, is the order of the day but it is no easy path.

Putting your personal agenda to one side and engaging in some serious listening is one of the first steps in genuine partnering. The leader who abandons their party line to co-create a new agenda in partnership with others is setting out in a whole new direction of co-operation and mutual gain.

Sadly the facilities world is even less democratic than the British electoral system and the poor FM populace cannot force our leadership to embrace change in the way that Cameron, Clegg and Co. are now realising they must.

The many Institutes, Associations and Chartered bodies that represent the facilities and property management profession and industry in the UK have no interest in collaboration. Sadly they seem to spend more time competing with each other for sponsorship, training and advertising income than they do in representing FM on the bigger public and political stage.

The old Trotskyite in me favours some kind of centralist coup, bringing everyone together into some kind of Peoples Commissary for FM Affairs with a centrally driven popular agenda to promote and expand the facilities management manifesto. However, the older and wiser Pickard recognises the foolishness of total self belief and understands that greater human engagement and more effective innovation is always generated by a process of creative co-operation, knowledge sharing and mutual respect.

It is often said that FM needs a voice. The sad truth is that it already has too many voices. A recent debate on’s LinkedIn discussion group has had a procession of FM notables united in opposition to the creation of yet another FM Association to represent service providers in Euurope. So there seems to be general opposition to yet more division. But is anyone interested in forming a working coalition for FM?

Customer and service provider representatives in the FM supply chain are revisiting the partnership paradigm in order to address the issues they both face in post recession Britain. A recent BSRIA conference saw a procession of speakers from around the FM world extolling the virtues of mutually rewarding working relationships. The BSi has been working with partnering experts PSL to develop PAS11000,  the world’s first standard for collaborative working, into a full British standard and Emcor now have the honour of being the first FM business to achieve certification to that standard.

Britain is waking up to a coalition government for the first time in 70 years. By anyone’s judgement the Conservatives should have swept to power but Britain is changing. Time will tell if adversarial habits learned over decades will kill the project in its infancy or whether this is the beginning of a new look to politics that will shape the UK for a generation.

As businesses and as voters, we clearly understand the benefits that collaborative working relationships can bring to any endeavour. For FM to realise its potential in the new political environment perhaps it is time for an end to the old regime of self interested manouvering by the leaders of the FM world and time for change to a better way.

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