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Mobilising to success

Julia_EdmondsEffective mobilisation, implementation and transition are vital to the long-term success of any facilities management outsourcing relationship. Julia Edmonds, managing director at Lexington, explains how organisations can reduce the complexity and stress to ensure a smooth transition as well as a sustainable partnership 

Establish a common goal & build a trusting relationship 

Good trusting relationships are key to any partnership but these effective relationships/teams don’t just happen. It’s up to the project manager to set the stage for success and guide the team toward the establishment of team goals and, ultimately, a smooth mobilisation process.

Every team needs to be driven by a core mission – one that leads on shared team goals, rather than one based on individual agendas. It’s these team objectives that will bring the team together and keep it unified even when obstacles arise.

This ‘one team’ approach is essential as often things can come to light through the mobilisation process that have not been factored into the project plan. By working together you will be much better placed to come up with the best possible solution and manage it in a way that no one notices to deliver. 

Investing time upfront to establish a common goal and agree on how it will be achieved will make it much easier to address the unexpected, identify when things are moving from the schedule, and it’s much more likely that the team will pull together to manage the problems having little to no impact on the client. 

This will help manage expectations, deal with any potential issues when they arise to ensure the project exceeds expectations and ensure your team delivers that ‘wow’ factor.

Invest in the planning & project management
This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to get it wrong and as a result the project could fail to meet expectations. 

Any mobilisation project is dependent on people, so it’s important to think carefully about who you put in at the top of the project as well as those on the ground – both in terms of the skills required but also the cultural fit.

With so much hinging on the plan it’s important for an experienced mobilisation manager to take the lead, plan accordingly, manage the team and engage everyone involved. Without this engagement and team collaboration it simply won’t work.

As the owner of the plan the project manager will be responsible for organising, leading and controlling resource, both people and physical, to ensure objectives are met efficiently and effectively. Success hinges on their ability to lead, motivate and inspire the team – it’s important to have a strong leader, someone who can manage the journey, create excitement around the project and take people with them.

What has organisational culture got to do with mobilisation?
Look at any successful change project and you will always find a discussion around creating identities and a common vision for the organisation. Partnerships formed during mobilisation are no different – for any FM partnership to work both parties, the client and facilities provider, need to understand and have an appreciation for one another’s cultures and working practices. 

It makes sense to invest time up front to understand the organisational culture so that you can ensure you:

  • Have the most suitable team of people working on the project.
  • Develop a way of working that will ensure long-term success.

Engaging with the whole team
The people piece really is the single most important element of a mobilisation, so it’s essential to get it right…

Any mobilisation is a complex process, especially when there is a contractor already in place so it’s important to engage with the team as early as possible so that they feel part of the process. Being visible and there to answer any questions will help remove anxiety and build excitement about the changes and new opportunities.

Quite often the process will involve the transfer of a team from the outgoing contractor to the new contractor. Whilst they won’t officially be employed by the organisation until the date of transfer, it is important to engage with them well before then to instill loyalty by creating a feeling of shared community.

There’s lots of different techniques you can use to support people, from providing a buddy to offering drop-in chats – what’s important is that you have a strategy in place, share information and are visible. 

Involve the people experts
Most mobilisation processes will involve the transfer of teams so it makes good business sense to involve the people experts – not just from a legal perspective but also for training, engagement and performance. 

Change can be unsettling, especially when moving to a new employer, but it can also be exciting and full of new opportunities. Yes, there are the legal parts and the TUPE process to follow but there’s more to it than that – it’s about getting people to buy into culture and values, and feel positive about the opportunities ahead. 

Your people experts/HR can help ensure a smooth handover and transition by helping to identify any skills gaps and making sure the right people processes, policies and support is in place to engage and motivate the team.

You need a post-mobilisation team
Every project plan should include post-mobilisation support so you can be certain that you are delivering to the same standard as day one and continue to exceed client expectations.

It’s important to ensure the mobilisation team is on hand to provide support and ensure delivery continues to exceed client expectations. The plan never ends – it should be continuous to ensure fabulous service delivery is maintained and innovation continues.

You need to maintain visibility
It’s important to create regular touch-points between the client and supplier post-mobilisation. Whilst the launch may go smoothly and feedback received may be good requirements can change quickly – only by building a strong and trust worthy relationship with your client and delivery team will you ensure you continue to exceed client expectations and deliver the wow factor.

About Sarah OBeirne

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