Cowboys and Facilities Managers: 8 Things They Have in Common
The first chapter of our book, Wide Open Workspaces, was recently made available for download. In this book, we discuss the workspace frontier and how facilities managers are, in many ways, the cowboys of this century. The workspace of today is evolving at a rapid pace, forcing facility managers to be pioneers in their industry. We must think outside the box, embracing change and, in order to keep up and stay relevant, we must do it quickly. Much like the original cowboys, the Workspace Cowboy can be a partner in transforming the way an organization thinks and the processes it adopts.
To be a leader, today's Workspace Cowboy must embrace the principals of the Cowboy Code, with the facility manager at the forefront. Today, we will explore a little bit about those codes and how they relate to facility managers of today.
Cowboys blaze new trails--Cowboys explored new opportunities, leading settlers into unchartered territory and blazing the trails for those who came after them. Much like today's facility manager, cowboys had to come up with innovative ideas, often on the fly, to keep themselves and the cattle healthy, safe and moving in the right direction. With the workspace environment evolving at a rapid pace, facility managers have been forced to shift the way they think. Technological tools such as iOffice's Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) portal provides the FM with the necessary information to reinvent the workspace, exploring new opportunities and come up with fresh, new ideas to increase productivity and decrease costs.
Cowboys get together for the roundup--Driving cattle to market was a team effort, requiring a minimum of ten people per cattle herd. Critical to the success is an organization's ability to collaborate, work together towards one common goal and trust one another. Heading off issues as they arise, rather than after they become a problem, helps build that trust, contributing to the overall health and collaborative atmosphere. Each department must work together, and it is the facility manager's duty to help create this engaging, collaborative work environment. Building a happy, productive and successful organization is truly a team effort.
Cowboys do what needs to be done, with ten-gallon courage-- In the early 1800s, settlers had only the stars as their maps, with very little idea as to where they were headed. Many relied on the cowboys to explore the unknown dangers, paving the way for the rest. This exploration not only took great courage, but also the faith that what lay beyond was worth the risk. The 21st century FM is continuously charged with the task of exploring new opportunities, having the courage to bring these opportunities to the table, and then making them work once implemented. The iOffice software platform's versatility and usability reduces much of the risk for the facilities manager. With real-time data at their fingertips, FMs can track information and make well-informed decisions. And since it supports both the traditional office space as well at the mobile workspace of the future, ￼the facility manager can consistently analyze data and make amendments as necessary.
Cowboys take pride in their chores--While much of the cowboy's job required them to go into dangerous situations, it was a pretty thankless job. They were the unsung hero, looked to (and often blamed) when things went wrong, but receiving very little praise when things went right. Much of the facility manager's job requires attention to detail, managing the day-to-day intricacies that make an organization tick. Much of these duties take place behind the scenes, with very few people even realizing all that the job entails. Facility management software provides the FM with the proper tools to better manage daily chores and changes, as well as well as the information needed to justify request changes.
Cowboys keep an eye out for what works--￼While simplicity plays a major role in the duties of both the cowboy and the FM, so does flexibility and customization. Much like the tools for today's workforce, many of the cowboy's tools served more than one purpose. Both jobs require(d) embracing process, always with their eyes and ears open for what is working and what needs to be tweaked. The FM's tools, such a modular software platform, allow the facility manager to build a system to fit their specific needs. A fluid platform designed to perform complex tasks in a simple manner, with the ability to transform as your needs change.
A cowboy's word is good as gold--A cowboy had nothing without the respect of their word. It was through commitment to their jobs and the delivery of extraordinary service that cowboys were able to garner the trust they deserved. To achieve Workspace Cowboy status, today's FM must take this code very seriously. Following through with the code means listening to the customers and their needs, nurturing these relationships and aligning the proper resources with the proper projects to follow through.
Cowboys share around the campfire--A truly successful manager recognizes that not one cowboy has all the answers. Whether around a campfire or in the conference room, every team is comprised of a diverse group of individuals. Fresh ideas and opportunities arise when collaboration around the "campfire" exists. Engage a variety of players, all working with one purpose, and true innovation and excellence will result.
Cowboys ride for the brand--Commitment and loyalty. That was the brand cowboys rode for, and they could always be counted on to uphold this code. A company's employees are the face of the organization. Studies indicate that there is a direct link between employee and customer loyalty. Therefore, facility managers must work closely with HR to ensure they are maintaining a "happy house". Attracting and maintaining high quality talent is critical for the FMs role in “riding for the brand”.
Managing today's workspace is no longer just about the brick-and-mortar. The digital world has expanded the workspace, providing us a limitless supply of opportunities. Mobility and flexibility through modern day tools have allowed today's workforce to take their office with them wherever they may roam. Through collaboration amongst departments, facility managers can determine what technological tools will serve the team's needs best. And it's that ten-gallon courage that helps them see implementation through.