From Roundups To Rodeos—Facility Management Helps Companies Evolve

by Elizabeth Dukes on August 26, 2014

In the days of the Wild West, much of Texas land was untamed. Cattle roamed freely half the year, until spring arrived and it was time for the Cowboys to get together for the roundup. During roundup season, cowboys from neighboring ranches would team up to bring the roaming cattle into one location to be sorted for sale or breeding, branded, and sometimes even castration.

This was a collaborative effort in which each cowboy had their own skill set and job. One cowboy would sort specific animals from the herd, while another roped the calves and held them down for branding. Since FM teams are modern day cowboysrounding the cattle was a grueling task, requiring trained horses known as “cutting horses,” some cowboys, also known as “wranglers,” had the difficult job of rounding up wild horses and breaking them for the roundup. No one job was more valuable than another; the cowboys had to rely on their teammates to ensure the work was done as seamlessly as possible.

As with every job, however, the level of expertise varied from cowboy to cowboy. A sort of competition arose amongst the cattle-cutters and horse-handlers, each seeking to prove they were the most gifted at their job. From this friendly rivalry, the rodeo was born. The rodeo allowed cowboys to build what was once a seasonal trade, into a year-round job in which their skills could be put to work even during the off-season.

Facility Management Teams Are Modern Day Cowboys

In our new book, Wide Open Workspace: Trailblazing Solutions For Tomorrow’s Workforce, we compare facilities management teams to the cowboys of the Wild West. The workplace environment has evolved significantly over the years, with FM teams leading the way. These changes have brought about more responsibilities for the workplace managers, making it more important than ever for management to build strong, committed teams.

In building your “dream team” it is vital that you surround yourself with a diverse group of individuals and talent. While everyone must be like-minded in their commitment to company goals, your strength will come from the diversity of the team and what innovative ideas each individual brings to the table. If everyone’s strength is wrangling, who will sort, rope the calves or perform the branding? True collaboration stems from each member of the team’s input, where one can feed off the other.

As rapidly as the workplace is evolving, so too, is technology. While technology’s advancements afford us the tools we need to perform our job more efficiently, it has also increased competition. Customers know if they are not satisfied with a product or service, there is another company waiting to accept their business. Organizations who wish to remain at the top in their industry must pay close attention to every detail, from the quality of their product to the tools and workspace environment they make available to their employees. Attracting and retaining top talent is the reward.

The cowboys would never have achieved the success they did without a strong commitment to the cause. This dedication forged strong bonds amongst their teammates. Couple that with a healthy dose of competition and these pioneers made history. Much like today’s workplace, America was truly a wide open space, where the opportunities were only limited by the drive, courage, and commitment. Leaders in the facility management profession are paving new paths, exploring unknown territory and creating their own story along the way.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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