When I first received a call from Bruce Barclay about 18 months ago, he invited me to participate in an event. The event was intended to deliver a culture of Service Excellence across an integrated FM platform. Bruce had heard me speak at a conference with a colleague, and thought I might be able to help. Whilst I didn’t know a lot about Real Estate and Facilities (at that point), I did know about people and about managing organisational change and transformation across a number of sectors. My first comment was along the lines of: “If you’re looking for a cultural transformation, you want to be thinking a minimum of a one to two year Journey not an event”.
For the next 30 minutes, we explored the purpose of the transformation, the ‘hoped for’ business impact; the principles that would guide the journey and clarified what real success might look like. As I put the phone down, I reflected on how much I’d enjoyed the conversation, whether I’d ever hear from Bruce again, and that I’d better contact my colleague, Alan who knew about FM.
Several weeks later, Bruce did reconnect, and one of the results of the transformation programme that followed has been the industry recognition achieved by winning the Partners Across Borders Award, hosted by EuroFM. One of the Judges noted that the EMC submission was “unique”. You can read the press release here.
The success of the transformation journey to this point has been facilitated and enabled by the EMEA GREF teams’ hard work, focus and importantly, their attention to creating strong and robust partnerships with all their suppliers. As one of those suppliers, I was trusted and valued. This welcoming and open relationship was important. The approach to partnership that I experienced had an integrity that was empowering and motivating, enabling me and challenging me to do my best for the team. Alongside a busy consulting and coaching practice, this has been a thrilling and sometimes exhausting team to be part of.
This award is just one of the visible outcomes from the One Team programme, there are many others visible to those closely involved, and at distance in the wider business. The wider and longer term impact requires careful monitoring and impact measurement.
The tempo of the journey is changing and ownership for the One Team programme is being pulled from the EMC EMEA Real Estate and Facilities Senior Leadership Team based in Cork, out into the many Service Partner leads across the EMEA region, where collaboration across competitor organisations, openness to learning, strong relationships and alignment around a clear, shared purpose act as the multipliers to ongoing success.
Some of the impact of this journey on the One Team Service Partner Organisations and the EMC business is shared in the quotes below:
“We have been empowered to implement a lot of small things as part of the service excellence philosophy and customer first approach. As a result we have reached 91 per cent customer satisfaction in My voice survey in Moscow this year in comparison to 74 per cent last year, while in St Petersburg, appreciation grew from 80 per cent to 84 per cent.” Maria Torbina (Russia)
“I think that the initial reaction for most of the service partners, including myself, was that this approach is a crazy idea as we are all competing for business from EMC. However, the more time that I spend working on the programme, the more sense it makes and it makes us all stronger by collaborating” David Chamberlain (Eastern Europe, Middle East, North Africa)
“I thought the One Team approach was a revolutionary idea, a very courageous and ambitious project. I feared it could have been a too dramatic change for us, difficult to pursue in the long term. However it has proved to be a very well planted seed that is paying dividends to us all. The latest Great Places to Work report for Italy showed incredible results. We are the third best organisation to work for in Italy.” Isabella Pozzoni (Southern Europe)
The Partners Across Borders award is very apt and well deserved.
The next time my husband sighs: “Why on earth do you bother with presenting at conferences”, I have a reasonably robust response. Oh – and I know much more about Real Estate and Facilities Management than I did.