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60 Seconds With...BIFM Board member Martin Bell

06-04-17, 09:12

In February this year, the first of two elections was held to appoint two new members to serve on the BIFM Board under a new governance structure introduced as a result of a 2016 review to assess the Board's effectiveness and ensure the Institute attracts diverse and appropriately qualified people to help fulfil its mission and strategic aims.

As voting this week opened for a second time to fill a further three vacancies on the Board, Unilever's global workplace and FM service development manager Martin Bell, one of the two successful candidates from the first election, answers our 60 Seconds With...questions and shares what he hopes to achieve as one of BIFM's new non-executive directors.

You can find full details on how to cast your vote in the election here.

Q. What made you choose FM as a career?

A. I didn't choose FM as a career; I fell into this profession like so many of us. I started with a graduate scheme at JCI, which aimed to build transferable skills. It didn't take long before I learned that FMs must have one of the most diverse and challenging skillsets of any professional. The opportunity to have a career that enables life-long learning has maintained my love for our profession.

Q. What do you wish you'd known about the industry before you joined?

A. That you will never want to leave.

Q. What does it take to be successful in FM?

A. Customer focus, responsiveness, pragmaticism, communication skills, technology skills, commercial acumen and a sense of humour.

Q. What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

A. Developing global service delivery strategies; understanding different cultural nuances of FM on a global basis; pioneering service improvement; executing opportunities to align service to business needs; continual learning and opportunities for development challenges.

Q. What aspects of your job didn't you expect?

A. Generally, none as I did my research, however the paradox of developing global solutions that meet local needs (glocal) will always represent a challenge.

Q. What are your predictions for the FM industry in 2017?

A. Increased focus on productivity; building compliance; increased regulatory burden and economic pressures; improvements and increases in service automation driven by technology developments; delivery/staff challenges in the UK as a result of Article 50 being triggered.

Q. What's your greatest work achievement?

A. Being elected to become a non-executive director of BIFM, an amazing honour considering the high calibre of the other candidates.

Q. Why did you nominate yourself for election to the BIFM Board?

A. Eight years ago, I joined BIFM and was keen to become more involved with the Institute. Volunteering as a member of the Audit & Risk Committee, a BIFM Awards judge and a member of the FM World editorial advisory board enabled me to learn a lot about the Institute and I was able to make a positive impact adding value on an ongoing basis. I have now reached a point in my career where, with my experience and skillset, I can provide a more substantive and more directive impact on our Institute and the wider profession.

Q. What do you hope to achieve as a BIFM non-executive director?

A. I hope I can make a demonstrable impact. At the end of my tenure, I want to have received positive feedback from the Board members and the chairman that the Institute is in a better position as a direct result of my involvement. On a personal level, I hope this opportunity provides me with a chance to grow and develop my general management competencies.

Q. What will you bring to the BIFM Board?

A. External strategic perspective (with a client mindset) that can help direct the organisation; energy, a sense of urgency and relentless desire to see BIFM grow; analytical and commercial expertise; a collaborative, challenging and inquisitive approach. I have high expectations of myself and others and this will help our pursuit of excellence.

Q. What do you feel is BIFM's greatest strength?

A. An exceptional and active base of competent members and a sound reputation for promoting excellence, particularly through the industry's biggest, best and most robust awards process.

Q. What challenges do you feel BIFM faces?

A. Global relevance; competitor expansion; commercial optimisation of training services; meeting members' vast expectations with limited resources.

Q. What do you believe should be BIFM's priorities?

A. To develop the Institute's capabilities to fulfil its purpose, aspirations and responsibilities; to deliver a digital strategy that enables us to provide a diverse and relevant content library that provides a vehicle to help engage our stakeholders and positions us as thought leaders of the built environment; to become the recognised authoritative voice of the industry building on initiatives (ie The Stoddart Review) to improve the impact on an organisation's leadership agenda and to get BIFM a seat at the table to influence policy; to differentiate the Institute to enable BIFM to be viewed as the professional development partner of choice for individuals and organisations so BIFM has a clear competitive advantage.

Q. Describe yourself in three words.

A. Proactive. Determined. Collaborative.

Q. What was your first job?

A. Spray painting fork lift trucks.

Q. Who's influenced your career most and why?

A. I have learned from every manager and leader I have worked closely with. Everyone has helped me in different ways but none more demonstrably than others. There are too many names to mention.

Q. What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

A. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Q. What's the skill you'd most like to have?

A. Telekinesis. It would make tidying up after my young kids so much easier!

Q. What's on your desk?

A. Nothing. I believe in the importance of a clear desk policy.

Q. What are you passionate about?

A. A relentless commitment to improvement whilst never sacrificing core values.

Q. Who's your business hero?

A. Elon Musk; I admire his approach to innovation, product superiority and sustainability. Not to mention a natural fear of Artificial Intelligence.

Q. Describe your perfect day away from work.

A. To be exploring a city I have never visited before and appreciate the architecture, culture and, of course, food. To spend time listening to laughter and seeing the joy of my children enjoying life.

Q. What's your favourite quote/motto?

A. "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." - Albert Einstein

Q. What's the best/worst quality in a leader?

A. Authenticity/Lack of humility

Q. What can't you live without?

A. Oxygen! But on a less dramatic level, I love to run and to listen to rock music.

Q. What are your career ambitions?

A. To never go a single day without the sense of progress.

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