No matter what type of organization you are a part of, you are going to have to make a business case for funding, whether that is to just maintain the current funding that you are getting, or ideally to advocate for an increase.
The key thing to remember is in most cases, the people that you are speaking to are not facilities folks. They are educators, medical professionals, business or finance experts. Too much data can easily either overwhelm them or cause them to lose interest. That is why we have been working with our clients to start building stories, informed by their data as part of their upward reporting and presentations.
If you have never read it, I would highly recommend the book Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. Although it is focused on marketing and sales, it can add a lot of value for anyone who is advocating for funding either within their organization or to an outside funding body. I am not going to get into the principles of the book here (that’s why you should read it), but it does provide an excellent structure for telling compelling stories and getting your message across.
Before you start to craft your story, you really need to understand what the underlying narrative or intent of the story (presentation) is going to be. With regards to facility and infrastructure asset management, there are really three main narratives that we see clients telling:
- This is where we are and these are the bad things that are going to happen if we continue on the way we are going;
- This is where we are and this is how much worse it would be if we hadn’t done what we have over the past years;
- Thank you for the additional funding you provided, here is what we did with it, can we have some more please!
It is also critical that you know your audience and what is important to them. If you do have technical people on your Board or as Trustees, then you can likely go deeper into the data. If you are talking to pure financial people, you may want to talk dollars instead of Facility Condition Index. End users (educators, medical professionals, etc.) are better off focusing on the risk to interruption of the core services offered in the building.
Focus on what is important to your audience and show both the risks of not taking action, as well as the benefits if you do take action. Wherever possible utilize their terminology and quote strategic plans or goals. You want them to recognize their work in what you are requesting. Use the data to back-up both the potential risks you are trying to avoid, and the benefits that you want to achieve.
Many of us are highly technical professionals and therefore the concept of story at first may seem a bit “fluffy” for some. The fact is that more and more organizations are getting greater traction in using the principles of story, backed up by consistent and defensible data, to further their AM programs. Give it a try!
PLEASE ENGAGE US THROUGH COMMENTS
You may have noticed that we recently added a comments feature to our blog. We would love to engage in dialogue with you on any of our current and previous posts. Also, if there are any topics that you would like us to post on in the future, please leave a comment.