Thursday, May 26, 2011

Guest Blog: The FDM Transformation

A guest blog by Gary Cinnamon.

As I look back over the past year, I am amazed at what FDM was able to accomplish: the completion of Social and Behavioral Sciences building, Public Safety Building, CSUSM Temecula Campus, our new Baseball Field, and many smaller projects that are too numerous to name.

But as great as these accomplishments are, and the entire Department should be proud of themselves for contributing to building the campus, these projects are just physical things. Over time as projects transform and move from the “design and construction” phase to the “operation and maintenance” phase they will fall from people's memories as great accomplishments and simply become the “day to day job”. Mind you, that is not bad, just a reality. The emotions tied to accomplishments just do not last forever. With that said, there is one small accomplishment within FDM that will continue to transform us, the FDM REORGANIZATION.

The FDM reorganization was originally conceived to address various initiatives on energy and sustainability. At the time, I thought this reorganization would be a fairly simple endeavor, move a few people around and create the department of Sustainability and Utility Services within FDM. However, what was simple in concept has in fact been a difficult and continuous effort on the part of all within FDM. What started, long before I was in the picture, as two nearly autonomous groups of people, one group constructing buildings, and the other operating and maintaining them, with hardly a word spoken between them, has been transformed into four aligned and collaborating departments with four areas of expertise:
  • Facilities Services—Experts in facility operation and maintenance
  • Planning Design and Construction—Experts in development of capital projects
  • Sustainability and Utilities Services—Experts in energy management and sustainable practices
  • FDM Administration—Experts in policy, procedures, budgets, and money
Unlike our “accomplishments” of designing, building, and operating facilities, which eventually fade from memory, our four departments, simply conceived, will continue to evolve and improve on a daily basis. We will strive for excellence and focus on the solutions that will make all of Facilities Development and Management an “accomplishment” within itself for years to come.

Six months ago at our FAS Division meeting I promised three things to FDM:
  • I will make myself more visible to all FDM employees.
  • I will clarify and standardize all FDM Operating Procedures.
  • I will listen to what employees say, and collaborate to create strategic solutions that meet the needs of our employees as well as the Campus.
Since I’ve said those words I’ve worked at trying to inject them into my daily life on campus, maybe not always successful but always with enthusiasm. As we all work toward making FDM a better organization it is clear to me that the words above are no longer “I” statements, but rather they are “We” statements.
  • We make ourselves more visible to our fellow employees-we are a team and work for the betterment of our fellow team members.
  • We help each other to understand and clarify our jobs within all of FDM.
  • We communicate; we listen to each other; we collaborate; and we all create strategic solutions that meet the needs of each of us, FDM and our Campus.
I congratulate each and every one of the employees of FDM for their accomplishments for the year and years to come. You have all performed a JOB WELL DONE.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Guest Blog: Committing to the Values Survey

A Guest Blog by Katy Rees.

The FAS Values Survey is near and dear to my heart. When we first launched it several years ago, we weren’t sure how it would affect our culture. It’s been amazing to watch our response rates grow, to know that we entrust VP Hawk with our honest comments, and to invest in making the FAS culture better each year. It has also been interesting for me to be a proponent of the Values Survey – championing the improvement of our workplace climate, to now being a manager who is directly responsible for nurturing that in my departments. I am fortunate enough to lead the great folks from the VP’s Office as well as Risk Management & Safety. These teams are composed of dedicated, talented and wonderful individuals who make my job a labor of love. They deserve a leader who walks the talk and who is accountable for her actions. It was easy to develop my three commitments, because they are actions that I wanted to take for many months; this simply gave me the excuse to publicly commit to achieving them.

The three commitments I made at our division meeting are:
  • I will become more purposeful with my time by setting a proactive schedule
  • I will schedule quarterly informal meetings and conversations with each staff member
  • I will communicate a clear vision, and set long-term and short-term plans for my units
The first one is easier said than done. It seems simple to just stick to my schedule and to plan out my week with more purpose. Unfortunately, I had fallen prey to a hectic calendar full of meetings, and didn’t spend enough time preparing for a well-thought-out week. I analyzed the frequency, duration and topics of my meetings to ensure that I was the correct person to attend each committee meeting, to make time for 1:1 meetings, and to ensure I had prep time before and after crucial meetings so I could follow up on action items. My goal is to set a proactive and purposeful schedule that honors my colleagues’ time, and to conduct useful meetings. I am still working on getting this goal just right, but I now plan out my week instead of merely having my week happen to me.

My second commitment was to spend more informal time with each staff member. The work day gets busy and it’s too easy to assume that each person feels heard, and has access to time with me. I scheduled a coffee meeting and a lunch with each staff member. This has proved to be invaluable to me, and it’s something I plan on continuing. I had the opportunity to get to know each person personally and professionally. We talked about professional development plans, career goals, brainstormed ideas for how to improve our work practices, and I was able to learn about each person’s unique strengths and aspirations. I asked for input on how I could improve as a leader and how I could better support them or their department. Most importantly, I feel that I’ve become more accessible to each staff member and that I’m better in touch with how I could improve as a leader. Once again – I still have a lot to learn and many improvements to make, but this has proven to be a great use of time and a wonderful initiative.

Finally, I committed to communicating a clear vision, and setting long-term and short-term plans for my units. This third commitment greatly depends on doing the first two commitments well. I needed to be purposeful with my time, make time for the important things, and to leverage that knowledge into setting a compelling vision with supporting plans. I’m now at that juncture with my team to have those conversations, to plan our next steps, and to paint a picture for where we want to be. I’ll let you know how it goes. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guest Blog: A New Era for BFS

This month's guest blogger is Mary Hinchman.

Several months ago the Business and Financial Services Leadership Team (BFSLT), set out to create a new and compelling direction for Business and Financial Services. We saw it as an opportunity to improve the way we have been doing things and to put any ‘Business As Usual’ attitude behind us as we moved into a new era in BFS. Each and every one of BFSLT – Bella, Chris, Dan, David, Liz and Nancy – embraced the idea of formulating a new direction for BFS. Based on input gathered from everyone in BFS, we came up with what we believe is a composite view of where we have been, what we can do to improve, and how we can achieve the highest level of efficiency in the way we do things. This ongoing process - a process which has shown commitment, determination, dedication and perseverance, was thorough and detailed and has proven what a great team BFSLT is.

The strength of BFS is in the hands of those who make it work. In order to meet financial challenges at levels never before encountered at CSUSM, new strategies and techniques had to be made available to everyone. Providing staff with tools for success in all avenues of personal and professional development continues to create a cutting-edge attitude of ‘yes we can’ at every level. This translates into an overall confidence in being able to meet any issue that arises.

This shared confidence is never more evident than it is within BFSLT. Our reasoning at the onset of the issues facing us today was that we could do nothing less than ‘walk the talk’. If we expect staff to embrace innovation and grow together as a team, BFSLT must embrace these characteristics even more, and beyond that must be able to exhibit these qualities. A commitment to responsible leadership has been reaffirmed in all of us. I am very proud to say that this attitude continues to grow exponentially and has been the guiding force for us as we shaped our new vision.

BFS has many accomplishments and successes to celebrate. None of these would ever be possible without the dedication and commitment of our staff. This is a team that knows how to work together, knows how much hard work it takes to get the job done, and embraces every opportunity that comes up. All our hard work is exemplified in the new mission and vision that Business and Financial Services launched recently. Our motto: Excellence in Service and Resource Management serves us well as we confidently adopt and support the components of our new BFS vision:

Through our innovative business solutions we process accurate and timely data. Our proficient and empowered team adheres to the highest standards and our systems and processes provide resources to our customers efficiently and effectively.

Together we are alive, and together we make a difference.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Public Service Recognition Week

In honor of Public Service Recognition Week, which has been designated by Congress for the week of May 1-7, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the outstanding work you do each day in support of our students and the State of California. Your hard work, dedication and service to this campus are noticed and appreciated. I have the pleasure of witnessing firsthand your remarkable contributions and achievements and am extremely proud to lead this division. Thank you for your sustained commitment to FAS and our campus.