NBC’s Parks & Recreation is one of my favorite TV shows and having just binge watched several seasons on Netflix, I started thinking about the show and what it can teach us about the world of working in Parks & Rec.
1. Believe in what you do
If there’s one word that describes Leslie Knope, it’s passionate. She believes in the importance of her job and department. She’s vocal about their value and does not hesitate to defend their projects. Facility managers need to follow in Leslie’s footsteps and communicate the impact of their work. Many departments may not have to worry about much outside the scope of their departments, but facility managers must take a more global view. They are a support system for all the other department’s functions. They must understand how building occupants interact with each other and their environment. Facility managers have to consider the entire range of activities that goes into keeping occupants comfortable, safe and productive. It’s an important job and one that certainly has a major impact on the functioning of an organization.
2. Track your work
Remember all the times that Leslie had to defend her department and their resource needs? She repeatedly had to fight the political landscape in her town to gather support for her proposed projects. The best way to prove a case is with data and hard numbers. Let’s say that you were going to propose hiring a new employee. Management would want you to justify the need by showing estimated hours of work per month versus available man hours. If you are documenting your work, you probably already have that information. If you have no record of what your department has done, it’s a lot tougher to come up with those numbers to prove your case. For facility managers, having a firm grasp on the daily operations of their department is key to being able to support resource requests.
3. Cultivate a strong team
No matter what predicament Leslie’s team finds themselves in, they always pitch in to help resolve things. Similarly, it’s crucial for a facility manager to have a strong team. You may not be fighting an angry possum on the golf course like Leslie’s team (or maybe you are?), but you still need a strong team that believes in each other’s ability to get the job done. You need to be able to rely on one another because, especially when performing maintenance tasks, there may be safety issues involved. It’s important for your crew to trust that each member is properly trained and will use proper techniques in order to keep everyone secure when working on equipment and machinery.