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March 12, 2015

Board room buy-in: Tips for Real Estate and Facility Managers

All too often real estate and facility managers are excluded from board room decisions, or added as an afterthought once core decisions have been made. Considering the rapidly changing way people work, as well as the fact buildings are often a company’s second highest expense after staff, this is a wasted opportunity for businesses to reduce costs and increase productivity.

White Paper - CAFM - Getting the Board on Board

Computer Aided Facility Management software provides value to the bottom line of a company. But the board of directors is not always aware of CAFM benefits

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Therefore, when the chance to present to your board arises, how can you be sure you make the most of this opportunity? I’ve complied seven quick tips to help you in winning over your board room in order to raise the profile of real estate and facilities management.

1. Be prepared
It may sound simple or obvious, but failing to be fully prepared will damage your case. Block in your calendar to ensure you have adequate time to prepare, and sit in an office space that allows you to work without distraction.

2. Know expectations
If you’ve been invited to the board room, the person who invited you will no doubt have their own objective in what they want you to achieve. Make sure you’re clear on what that is, and use them to help you get your message across in the most effective and compelling way possible. He or she will likely know the board’s needs better than you do, to help ensure you focus on the right things.

3. Know your audience
Knowing exactly who will be in the meeting will help you prepare a presentation that is relevant to them, ensuring you hone your message so it focuses on the things they care about in order to gain their support. Is the CIO concerned about increasing threats to information security? Then how could your proposal help him or her? Knowing the challenges of each board member and their teams will also help you anticipate difficult questions so you’re fully prepared with polished answers.

4. Prepare a summary of your message
Are you 100% clear on your proposal and exactly what it is that you’re asking for from the board? Can you summarize it in one or two sentences? What is the key message you want them to take away? And what is the ideal outcome for you? Keep these things in mind so everything you do works towards these goals.

5. Be confident
A lack of confidence will not inspire board members to believe you’re capable of delivering your vision and the benefits that you’re proposing. Practice your presentation in front of a partner, friend, or supportive co-worker to get feedback on things you can improve so you’re confident and prepared.

6. Keep momentum after the meeting
Ensure board members can have copies of the information you’ve presented, in particular a summary of the key messages and benefits to them and the business, rather than a large number of pages that they will unlikely have time to read.

7. Be honest
If you’re asked a difficult question and you don’t know the answer, then be honest and admit that, agreeing to find out and get the information to them (then make sure you do get it to them). It will gain you greater respect than making up an answer which later proves to be incorrect, damaging your credibility in general as well as reducing buy-in for your proposal.

One of the biggest investments for real estate and facility managers is often the software they use to manage, monitor, and report on facilities; often called an IWMS or CAFM software. Whether you’re already using a software solution but think it could be better utilized, or you’re looking to invest in a CAFM system, getting buy-in from your board room is essential.

To help you in this challenge, Planon has compiled a 10-page white paper called CAFM – getting the board on board. It covers the core benefits of CAFM software with particular focus on the benefits of importance to a board room, in order to help you build a compelling business case and presentation to get that necessary buy-in.

Paul Raybould
Former Global Online Marketeer