Connected FM

Emerging Topics – 2023 Snapshot with Dean Stanberry

Episode Summary

Recorded at World Workplace 2023, Global Board of Directors Chair Dean Stanberry gives us an update on IFMA’s Emerging Topics Working Group, the related paper “Evolution is Never Finished” now available at, and his personal insights from chairing the working group through 2022-2023.

Episode Notes

Recorded at World Workplace 2023, Global Board of Directors Chair Dean Stanberry gives us an update on IFMA’s Emerging Topics Working Group, the related paper “Evolution is Never Finished” now available at, and his personal insights from chairing the working group through 2022-2023.

Resources Mentioned: 

Episode Transcription

Dean Stanberry: [00:00:00] As FM professionals, we need to develop a systems thinking mindset. We need to consider the entire life cycle. Of the building and its assets that we manage how preceding processes affect our processes and how our process affect the ones that fall on.

Host: Welcome to Connected FM, a podcast connecting you to the latest insights, tools, and resources to help you succeed in facility management. This podcast is brought to you by IFMA, the leading professional association for facility managers. If you're ready to grow your network and advance in your career, go to ifma.

org to get started. Today we're hearing from Global Board of Directors Chair, Dean Stanberry, live from World Workplace 2023, as he gives us an update on IFMA's Emerging Topics Working Group, the related paper, Evolution is Never Finished, and his personal insights from chairing the Working Group through 2022 to 2023.

Now, let's get into it.[00:01:00]

Do you want to connect with facility managers who live in your area, work in your industry, or share your interests? IFMA's local chapters, industry councils, and communities of practice have opportunities for you to be as involved as you want to be, network, learn, and contribute. Visit ifma. org to find your group.

Dean Stanberry: Hi, this is Dean Stanberry, Chair of IFMA's Global Board of Directors, coming to you live from the podcast corner booth on the Expo Floor at World Workplace 2023. It was one year ago at World Workplace Nashville that I shared with you some of the activities of IFMA's emerging topics working group. At the time, the group had been meeting for about six months and started to wrap our heads around the initial topics of circular economy.

Climate change, ESG reporting, crop [00:02:00] tech, and workplace wellness and well being. Today, IPPA has released a new white paper titled, Evolution is Never Finished, which summarizes the findings of the working group and lays out a path forward for the association and our FM professionals. It will help to begin with preparing for the short, medium, and long term impacts related to those topics.

The paper will be available on HFMA. org website. Viewing these as independent areas requiring the absorption of new information, assimilation of new skills, and adopting new processes can be staggering. But if you see how these are connected, how they're intertwined, how one goes in hand with the other, it looks more logical, sensible, and possible.

These emerging topics represent the next steps in the FM profession's evolutionary process. And facility management has never before experienced evolutionary change at this velocity. The paper offers but a [00:03:00] glimpse into these emerging topics. However, this is far from the end of the story, as we can look forward to more Connected FM podcasts and blogs, FMJ magazine articles, and more foreign looking white papers and research reports, micro learning educational opportunities, and of course, more educational sessions at IFMA events like World Workplace.

The current emerging topics we're working on will be Sunset this year, which was always the plan. Be aware that the paper's title, Evolution Is Never Finished, was very intentional. The process for monitoring emergent topics, evaluating their impacts on the profession, and informing and educating IPMUS members will be institutionalized into the association.

As I said at my conference opening remarks, IFMA has your back and always will. I encourage everyone to read the white paper as it offers insights. Insightful perspectives into the future of the FM profession. What I would like to [00:04:00] share today is a couple of insights I gained through my time leading the Emerging Topics Workgroup.

First and foremost is how FM has evolved to become a profession of lifelong learning. Looking back at my own journey through the industry, I can clearly pinpoint times when I felt the need to expand my knowledge for a given topic as it had become a more prominent component of my responsibilities. Some of you may have experienced the same need.

If you change FM roles or maybe move into a new industry sector, for example, hospitality is a very different set of skills and objectives than healthcare. However, these emerging topics are different. The effects and impacts of climate risk, circular economy, and prop tech span virtually all industry sectors.

Everyone will need upskilling in these areas, with some coming sooner than others. Whatever industry sector and role you're in [00:05:00] today, I suggest starting with a critical self assessment of your knowledge and skills for those topics. Then build a plan to develop those topics where you need improvement. If you're not sure where to start, reach out to one of your, your IFMA network for peers who are knowledgeable in one or more of these areas.

Find out where they develop their baseline knowledge. And the subsequent experiences where they were able to put it into practical application. If Ms. Network is one of your greatest allies. My second epiphany was comprehending the true scope and scale of commercial real estate, digital transformation.

When you consider the evolution of smart buildings to smart cities, renewable energy and electrification, interactive utility grids, the decarbonization imperative. And how buildings affect physical and mental well being. The interactions and complexities involved are orders of magnitude beyond what we have managed up to now.[00:06:00]

While this somewhat relates back to lifelong learning, it's a bit more than just developing knowledge about a specific topic. As FM professionals, we need to develop a systems thinking mindset. We need to consider the entire life cycle. Of the building and its assets that we manage, how proceeding, uh, processes affect our processes and how our processes affect the ones that fall on.

We need to become much more knowledgeable about data, including its characteristics, how we know if it's trustworthy and how information about buildings and assets flows along the life cycle. While systems are enablers of these advancements, it's the data where the real value is derived. No system can produce valuable in business insights from bad data, and no system can evolve organizational culture and behaviors on its own.[00:07:00]

Ultimately, it's humans who develop policy standards and procedures. It's humans that input and analyze and make decisions based on data. And as we all know, if humans are involved, mistakes will be made. No one person will ever know everything there is about managing assets that have a hundred year lifespan.

Thank you for your time. But if we collectively understand the fundamentals of the commercial real estate life cycle, we're better prepared to analyze and advise on the components of that life cycle that are within our span of control. Remember the quality improvement acronym PDCA, which stands for plan, do, check, and a few, if any process, is ever perfect at first.

And over time, things will change around them. Processes will need to be revised and improved. If your processes are not documented, that's a good place to start. As Drucker said, you can't manage what you don't [00:08:00] measure, and it's hard to measure what isn't defined. Our profession is evolving at an accelerating pace.

No doubt the next chair of IFMA will have even more new developments to share with you a year from now. Just remember that IFMA is here to help you keep pace with this evolution. But it's up to you to set aside the time to learn and absorb these new developments. We will not be able to condense everything into a one page document or a three minute video, so your planning must include time for deeper dives when necessary.

Your FM career is a ball, so be prepared to evolve with it. Thank you for listening today.

Host: Thank you so much for listening. I hope you really enjoyed this episode. And as always, please don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe to the podcast for more incredible content.