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Fri 1 Jun 2007 12:00 AM

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The story of success

How can you ensure that you achieve success for the organisation you work for, Dubai and more importantly, yourself? Gordon Parker, director of Coretex, explains.

In the second half of the 20th century, many people found themselves doing work the organisation did not do within its normal operations, such as managing the building where the people worked. Depending on the organisation's culture, the job role has many names including real estate, facility management, general services, property and workplace resources.

In Europe and the Middle East, the engineering and building-related skills are often owned by the organisation that built or owns the property. FM is becoming a career that people can choose and not just arrive in by accident.

However, being able to perform at a high level in this FM career requires competence in the same way that any skilled person would require - the ability to actually perform well. This is particularly important in an economy with a dependence of real estate assets as a driver of growth, such as Dubai.

Developing competence

To ensure you can carry out your role effectively and perform well, your organisation must proactively manage your competence. If they do not then three things happen:

1.You will become an investment that relies on chance to develop the competence you need to perform well now and in the future, you are unlikely to develop in the optimum way;

2.Your value to your employer will be reduced compared to your optimum performance;

3.You may feel undervalued and not make the best of your potential;

4. If you have any property or machine you know that investing in it brings rewards. Neglect brings negative results. The challenge is to know how much to invest and what performance to expect in return for the investment.

Your competence is made up of three key areas: experience, attitude and skills/knowledge. (Richard Boyatzis (1982): The Competent Manager: A Mode for Effective Performance).

Creating competent people does not rely on recruiting ‘perfect' people into a job and letting them get on with it - that was a practice that never worked. Building confidence, competence and continually pushing performance requires an organised approach to developing performance. Organisations and individuals need to plan future competence. This is particularly important in FM where the original skills of the managers almost never cover the technical and managerial breadth of the role.

Competence development

Research has shown that over 70% of what you learn about your job comes from doing it. However, there is a difference between learning badly from experience (doing the wrong things in the right way) and good practice (doing the right things in the right way). The other significant learning areas are coaching and mentoring, projects, self-learning including networking and formal training. The ideal is therefore to have a combination of: good work experience under the guidance of a mentor; coaching to develop on-the-job skills; organised networking - share and take ideas and organised learning - such as self study or training.

Maximising your potential individuals

A key first step is to be clear what you want to do about developing yourself. If you are happy to leave your future to chance then there is nothing to be done. If you want to plan your future performance in order to achieve more income and be better at your job, then talk to your organisation about how they see developing people as a way of improving value.

Remember that the starting point is always more value from you, not more money for you.

If you are in the first five to eight years of your FM career, having come from a trade, professional or building role previously then qualifications such as the IFMA FMP are a positive next step. The IFMA qualifications enable practitioners in the FM industry to demonstrate professional competence as different from the generic competencies of an organisation.

Organisations

You need to have an organised approach to developing the capability of your organisation. A good brand and customer satisfaction comes from attention to quality of processes, communications, management controls and competent management. Create a structure for assessing and developing your assets - financial and human.

Countries

The labor market must develop the necessary skills to address the significant demand for management of new facilities. Without this the huge investment in hard assets will fail to bring long term rewards as those assets fail due to poor stewardship and low standards of care.

In the longer term the future of the whole economy could rest on the shoulders of a small group of people that previously could not decide what they wanted to be.

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