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Friday, 10 April

What are FM's Values?

Anne Lennox-Martin, founder of collaboration consultancy FMP360 Ltd and a Facilities Management 2017 panelist, delves into the complex world of values in FM.

We often talk in our organisations about our core values. We list them on our websites. We talk to our employees about why they are important. We check to see whether companies we deal with show alignment and we hope, by publishing our values, they will contribute to our success.

But can we identify collective values which apply across the FM sector and if so, how do we communicate them to our clients, other sectors and UK plc?

Would we even want to do so? After all, aren’t our company values regarded as a key differentiator in attracting clients and talent?

This is a challenging area and perhaps the best place to start, as in all things – is at the beginning.


What is a value?

A value is a declaration of what is most important to us. Values are complex and intangible higher-level functions and are intimately linked to our beliefs about what is good and bad, right and wrong. Our values guide our every decision and the satisfaction or violation of them can produce strong emotional reactions.

We all have our individual values which develop and change as we go through life. For example, wealth might be important to us. However, our values can exist in two opposing ways in our unconscious. A 'towards' value would influence our thinking towards ways of acquiring and hanging on to monetary gains. Conversely, an 'away from' value would focus our thinking on how we can prevent ourselves from losing what money we have and sinking into poverty.






Not failing

Being successful



Good health


Not feeling trapped

Freedom of choice



Our conscious values are typically those we want others to believe about us and what we want to believe about ourselves. Our unconscious values may tell a different story. 'Away from' values often prevent us from achieving what we want, as they cease to motivate us when we get close to them by recreating situations which created that value originally. Someone who never seems to build a close lasting relationship would be one example, where someone is focused on not being single, rather than achieving a close and loving partnership.


Values in context

Our values differ according to a context. We may have a value of complete honesty in a personal relationship and a value of reserve and caution in a business arena. We could have a value of sharing in a family context and a value of privacy in a business setting. If values are what is important to us, then they are closely aligned to our beliefs, which are convictions we trust as being true. Our attitudes are determined by our collections of beliefs.

All of which leads us to understand that a desire to develop a common approach to values in a business context for Facilities Management will be aspirational rather than true.


What is FM?

How do we collectively change external perceptions of what facilities management is all about if even our own definitions are not straightforward or agreed upon?

BIFM says 'facilities management is the integration of processes within an organisation to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities'.  (A standard recognised definition which the lay person would instantly understand has yet to be developed. As professionals, we know what we do. Explaining it simply to others is still the Holy Grail!)


What should be important in FM?

In talking about values we have to park the definition debate and start somewhere, so here are five possible starters to stimulate the debate:

  1. Service excellence

  2. Alignment to organisational goals

  3. Value for money

  4. Collaboration and teamwork

  5. Sustainability

Anne Lennox-Martin, founder of collaboration consultancy FMP360 Ltd will further explore the theme of FM’s values at Facilities Management 2017. For more information, and to sign up for your free place, visit:

Article written by Anne Lennox-Martin


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