Home > Leadership, The Monday Musings Column > They call my right hand men Himmler & Hess and want me fired Part 1- more tales of life on the facilities front line

They call my right hand men Himmler & Hess and want me fired Part 1- more tales of life on the facilities front line

The other Facilities Front Line posts here have been on the dramatic side; gunmen, dodgy parcels and so on. These are rare occurrences although they do make for good copy; most days at the office have some drama, but overflowing toilets, disputes over parking places and rows over catering or meeting room bookings are not the sort of tales to grip the reader. Today’s tale is somewhere in the middle.

It’s around 0800 somewhere in South East England. I’ve been on the road for nearly two hours as the winter fog has made the 55 mile drive somewhat fractious. Visibility has been under 50 yards in places, but I had left early to allow for problems and have got here safely. It will give me some time with my on site team before I head into the tenant’s meeting at 0930.

The site is a corporate HQ outpost, acquired to house a new division that had outgrown central London (I’d been part of it before it moved), and had come here because the big cheese of the time had lived down the road. The site was now too big for their needs in this part of the world, but contained some technical infrastructure that was vital and this was enough for it to be our equivalent of a listed building.

Facilities Management had been self managed by the occupiers, but was now mine as part of another corporate shuffle and my team and I were trying to make sense of what we had inherited and to start to get the building performing. Cans of worms were being opened; the lifts had not been maintained since the building had been taken on for example and this was part of a huge backlog of work that we were tackling.

My meeting there this day was going to be difficult as I was going to have to set out the budget and cost apportionment along with our plans for the next three years. Amongst my audience was one director who blamed the failure of her department to meet its numbers on the feng shui being wrong and wanted her team moved to a different wing and their accommodation upgraded to remedy the defects. We had managed to get her wants costed to just under £1m, but there was no way that the business would fund it regardless of how loud she shouted. As you will imagine I was not looking forward to my day.

As I walk in from the car park a large car slows alongside me and the driver points to the passenger door. I open it and get in; it is my boss squared from the days when I worked in this division. He tells me that things are brewing against my plans; that my two area managers who are working full time on site putting things right have been labelled Himmler & Hess and that my back needs watching. I thank him and he is also kind enough to been seen to walk in to the building with me.

My site team are despondent. People who were once their colleagues are now their customers and hate them. I spend an hour bolstering and head off to my meeting. I go alone; you don’t take your team into an ambush.

The meeting is a bloodbath. I’m told that they will have me fired, that I am a disgrace, that I am ruining the business and more. My plans and the way that they support the business strategy are rubbished; they will never work.

But they did: Part two next week.

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