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Episode 79

Driving Culture Change While Planning & Building a New HQ

with Sharon G. Kinsman, CFM of the National Association of Broadcasters

Sharon G. Kinsman, CFM is the Senior Vice President of Facilities and Administration at the National Association of Broadcasters where she provides value-added workplace strategy and change management guidance to its senior leadership team. Mike Petrusky asks Sharon about her involvement in IFMA and how partnerships with industry experts advance the workplace and how collaboration across internal departments help to drive the culture. Sharon and Mike discuss the NAB’s plans to build and relocate to a new HQ building down at the capital waterfront in Washington, DC. They cover change management and workplace cultures and the important role that FMs have in helping with not only planning construction and physical moves, but in moving organizations forward both technologically and culturally. In this fun and relaxed conversation, Mike and Sharon share a love of music that leads to a Herb Alpert edition of podcast karaoke!

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Download the FREE “Workplace & Space Management Software” report from Verdantix: https://www.iofficecorp.com/verdantix-report-mp

Connect with Sharon on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharon-goldener-kinsman-cfm-1402487/

Learn more about NAB: https://www.nab.org/

Watch Mike’s Ted-style talk from Dublin: https://youtu.be/DudLzQoU1X0

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikepetrusky/

Share your thoughts with Mike via email: podcast@iOFFICECORP.com

Learn more about iOFFICE’s workplace experience solutions: https://www.iOFFICECORP.com/

Read full transcript:

Mike:

Hey, I wanted to take just a minute to tell you about a new report that was released recently. It was published by Verdantix, an independent research and consulting firm. And in it, they conducted a review of the 23 most prominent space and workplace management software companies. And guess what, iOFFICE was named the leader in two categories. iOFFICE scored highest overall and highest in workplace services. Awesome, right? So if you've been thinking about workplace and space management software, and you're just not sure which option out there is right for you, I'd like to send you a free copy of the report so you can check it out for yourself. All you need to do is go to iofficecorp.com/verdantix-report-mp. That's right, MP as in DJ Mike P. And I'll also leave this link in the show notes for you to make it easy. I hope it helps with your decision making process. As you explore the available software tools that will help you elevate the employee experience in your organization.

Sharon:

The very nature of having a more open floor plate and more light, and running into people that you're not used to running into. That itself is going to change the culture. I think that will give me a lot of satisfaction knowing that I really contributed to those aha moments.

Mike:

This is the Workplace Innovator Podcast, where we talk with corporate real estate and facility management leaders about the industry trends and technologies impacting your organization. This show is powered by iOFFICE. The leading employee experience focused IWMS software, that delivers real time data and mobile tools to help you intelligently manage your digital workplace. Hey there everybody. And welcome to episode 79 of the Workplace Innovator Podcast. My name is Mike Petrusky, and as this episode is hitting your devices. I am in Phoenix, Arizona for IFMA's World Workplace 2019. It's my favorite time of year folks. I always learn so much about where we are as an industry and the future of the workplace at this event every fall.

            And it's also an awesome time to reconnect with so many of my friends from our FM community. And it reminded me of how important that is. So for today's show, I have been inspired to share with you a conversation I had last year with someone I hope to see again in person here at World Workplace this week. Sharon Kinsman of the National Association of Broadcasters, is a longtime friend from the Capital Chapter of IFMA, a wonderful supporter of my podcasting career, helping me pursue my dream of being a broadcaster.

            As you know, someday, I hope to be known simply as DJ Mike P. But Sharon was kind enough to invite me to visit her at the current home of the NAB, as they were in the midst of planning to build and relocate to a new headquarters building down at the Capitol Waterfront here in Washington, DC. It's a big project. It's been in the works for many years, and Sharon has been involved all along the way.

            So we talked about what she has been doing about change management and workplace cultures and the important role that FMs have in helping, not only with planning construction and physical moves, but in moving our organizations forward, both technologically and culturally. Of course, I asked Sharon about music and I learned that she was once a classically trained violinist, which is awesome. It's all here in what turned out to be a very relaxed and really fun and inspirational chat.

            So I hope you enjoy it. Here we go. Boy, this is exciting folks. It's a dream come true. I am here in Washington, DC in the headquarters of the National Association of Broadcasters. I am in a studio. It's so crazy, can you hear how good the sound is? My guest today is a very special one. Someone I've known for a long time. It's Sharon Kinsman, senior vice president of administration here at the National Association of Broadcasters. She's a CFM, a long time IFMA contributor. Welcome to the show Sharon.

Sharon:

Thank you. So happy we finally got a chance to do this.

Mike:

Absolutely. Thanks for listening to the show all these years.

Sharon:

Love it.

Mike:

All these years, all these months. Yeah you were a quiet fan of the show. Several months after I launched this little podcast, I ran into you at a IFMA event and I was Mr. Self promo guy. I was talking about the podcast to people, and Sharon listened and nodded her head. And then she's like, "I've heard the show."

Sharon:

Yes.

Mike:

You were listening.

Sharon:

That's my emo. Work on the background.

Mike:

You didn't tell me you were listening. So as a facilities professional, just quietly doing your thing. And here I am, my ego needs feeding. And you were kind enough to say you were listening, so thank you.

Sharon:

That's okay. I have a lot of people here whose egos need feeding. We FMs know how to deal with that.

Mike:

Is that why we get along so well, because there's a synergy here. As the great George Lucas said in Star Wars, episode one, The Phantom Menace, the Gungans and the people above the surface have a symbiotic relationship. They need each other to exist. So we-

Sharon:

That's a great segue Mike.

Mike:

Much like my nerd Star Wars reference, have a symbiotic relationship. Wow! This went south fast, didn't it? And we haven't even asked a question yet. So I'm glad to finally have you in front of the microphone to tap in to the expertise that has come from, how many years now? Here at NAB?

Sharon:

Almost 40 here at NAB.

Mike:

That's not possible.

Sharon:

That's possible.

Mike:

You started when you were eight or nine years old?

Sharon:

Eight or nine, before child labor laws, yeah. But in this role, because I'm on my third career here. But in this role, I'm 21 years.

Mike:

Is it always been in this building? Because we're going to talk about the big change happening.

Sharon:

It has always been in this building. In fact, I took over, I went from VP of television to VP of facilities and administration three months before we moved into this building. After we moved out and did a gut and renovation, three months before we moved back, I put the facility hat on.

Mike:

Before we get too far. I want the audience to get to know Sharon, a little bit. Can I ask you your favorite music?

Sharon:

I looked at your question, and I don't have a favorite kind of music. It really very much depends on my mood. I love funk. I love Motown. I love pop. I hate heavy metal.

Mike:

Can't love it all.

Sharon:

And maybe-

Mike:

Can't embrace it all.

Sharon:

Right. Merely heavy country.

Mike:

Heavy country. Light country is okay.

Sharon:

Light country is okay.

Mike:

But maybe not so much the heavy stuff.

Sharon:

Yeah. Music, it definitely depends on my mood.

Mike:

Can you turn that heavy country down. It's bothering Sharon. You don't have your violin with you today?

Sharon:

I haven't picked up my violin and then Viola. Actually I switched to Viola. I haven't done that in many years.

Mike:

I played trumpet growing up as a teenager.

Sharon:

My brother played trumpet.

Mike:

I would have lost the aperture though. They all had a softball injury, ball to the face. Never was the same, career was ruined. I had to go into marketing. Strange turn of events.

Sharon:

That's your story? And you're sticking to it.

Mike:

Right. I could have been the next Chuck Mangione, I could have been the next Herb Alpert.

Sharon:

You're smooth like Chuck Mangione?

Mike:

And the Tijuana Brass.

Sharon:

I do know Herp Alpert.

Mike:

What's that song?

Sharon:

I know what you're talking about.

Mike:

It's the first FM Innovator, trumpet solo. After all these episodes, we finally broke new ground with the trumpet solo.

Sharon:

There you go.

Mike:

Good stuff. Are you prepared to share inspirational quote for the FM Innovator Nation?

Sharon:

Yes. I have several. I have three right up in my office. Right around my desk.

Mike:

Excellent.

Sharon:

Okay. This one, I don't know who wrote, because I think it's attributed to several people and has been tweaked, but, "change is hard because we overestimate what we have and we underestimate what we're about to get."

Mike:

Let me think about that. So yes.

Sharon:

Think of it in terms of our new building and our move. There are people who are very concerned. I'm I going to lose my parking space? Am I going to lose my office? It's all about what they have now is so great and whatever they're going to get there, is going to be awful.

Mike:

Change leads to unknown, which leads to worry and fear. And then you don't want to go there because we don't like.

Sharon:

That's why it’s so difficult.

Mike:

We as people don't care for that so much. What's number two?

Sharon:

It is from Jeff Bezos.

Mike:

Amazon.

Sharon:

Yes. Our neighbor.

Mike:

I've heard of it.

Sharon:

"The death knell for any enterprise is to glorify the past, no matter how good it was."

Mike:

Again, very applicable to what you're dealing with here.

Sharon:

And in fact, this is a great segue to the new building, because one of the things we told the architects from the very beginning, when they're trying to get to know you. Who are you NAB? What is it that you want so that we can help design this building? We are not a startup. We are a technology that's been around an awfully long time, but we're not stuck in the past. We also want to continue moving forward technologically and continued to be in everybody's homes and cars and everything else. We have a foundation from our past, but we are definitely looking forward, but we cannot live on our past.

Mike:

That's perfect. And that's exactly how we all need to be looking at our position, no matter what it is and the role we play, it's going to change folks. We're going to have to be evolving with the technology, with the culture, with the market, whatever that means for you. We're all going through it together. So let's encourage one another and inspire each other with another quote.

Sharon:

Last quote, "people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Mike:

Yes. Don't tell me who said that? I know who that was. Oprah Winfrey.

Sharon:

No. Poet laureate.

Mike:

Maya Angelou. Angelou. How do you say it?

Sharon:

Angelou.

Mike:

Angelou. Maya Angelo. Well, that's awesome, Sharon. Thanks for sharing those.

Sharon:

I'm glad you asked. They actually are up on my wall, or my desk and pretty much all the problems I have. Everything comes down to one of those three.

Mike:

Well, I hope as we walk away from this conversation, you remember little of what I said, but you remember how you felt.

Sharon:

Very good. What a master.

Mike:

Thank you. Unfortunately, this is all being recorded. So we will remember.

Sharon:

Dido. I hope you remember little of what I said, but I hope you had a good time.

Mike:

Well, it's all been documented, so there's no forgetting it, unfortunately. So as you prepare for this big move and the new HQ, do you feel you're keeping up with all that's going on and all you're responsible for as you head into this new project?

Sharon:

Not technically so much that I feel prepared for, because that's the learning stage for me. Sitting down with mechanical, electrical, plumbing, roofing that's the great part of just learning everything that you don't know. For me, what I know and the value I bring to this project is 20 years of working in this organization, in the weeds. So the other people, I'm not doing this alone. I'm not leading this project. The COO and there's EVP of strategic affairs, are also on this team with our head of finance. But they're all relatively new. And they're also in leadership roles. So they don't get into the weeds. I understand who comes and goes. When they come and go, what their needs are, what resources they need, what resources they're provided with that they never use. And that's sort of the drivers of this project.

            So the architects sit down with you and they want to understand you. And you have to really be able to articulate and defend who it is you are. We're not Google, we're not IBM. We are the National Association of Broadcasters. And we have our own culture. We don't want to be stuck in the culture. We want to understand generations, telecommuting.

            You have to understand all that and look forward, but still we have to be true to ourselves so that we can function at the best level of productivity with how we operate and how we operate best. And that, for me, I feel prepared because I'm the one delivering that information. When things start to go awry and there are assumptions made, and you have to make assumptions. When other people are designing your building, they assume that you're 24/7, or that you're going to leave your loading dock open all the time. Whatever the assumption is. And you say, wait. No, we don't operate that way.

Mike:

I've said this over and over again, who better to communicate the needs of the occupants of a facility than the FM professional, who has their finger on the pulse of what's going on in the organization?

Sharon:

Absolutely.

Mike:

And can share along with others, obviously there's this new trend, right? Towards breaking down all the silos. You have to work with HR, work with IT, work with the executive team to make sure that we're looking at all these things. And FM needs to be in part of this discussion because a facility is just a place for people to exist. And I think we're finally getting to the point where people recognize that.

Sharon:

Yeah, I do think it's going more collaboratively. It is working with HR. It is helping to drive the culture. And it's been interesting for me. There've been times when I've been asked to come in and provide input, to the C-suite, which is not what we call it here, but I'll use that jargon. But now that I'm in these meetings all the time, day after day, week after week, on the development of this building, the progression has been from, Sharon, we had this conversation and we decided X, Y, and Z. And I'd say, well, you might want to consider this, this or this. To Sharon, we started to have this conversation. And we decided we can't even come to a conclusion until you weigh in on it.

Mike:

We need you now.

Sharon:

So that's been a great progression of really other people coming to value what is that the facility team brings to this process. And that has been personally and professionally rewarding for me.

Mike:

That's great to hear. And I'm excited to hear, and I'm sure others out there will be excited to hear that. I do want to ask you some specifics about the introduction of new technologies and the changing requirements, roles, responsibilities. Talk about that advice. Or what advice can you offer to all of us when it comes to being prepared for the future?

Sharon:

Just very succinctly, right?

Mike:

Yeah. Put it in a nutshell and then we'll wrap it up.

Sharon:

It's a big question, Mike. And I think facility managers, I think already are comfortable with change and pivoting. That's what we do. And yes, we're doing it at a rapid fire pace. But I think because we're more involved in some of the decisions. We are going from reacting to other people changing, to now, we're the ones who are prompting the reaction. We're not always reacting. We are advocating for change and we can demonstrate why that change is going to be helpful to the bottom line, to the culture, to collaboration, to whatever. So I think we've gone from just reacting to other people's changes to now where we're advocating for the change and we can demonstrate why it's important.

Mike:

And we can't not talk about this. Our involvement together at IFMA has obviously helped you. You're regularly an attender of our workplace, other events, what do you get most from that community?

Sharon:

Really talking to other FMs. For me, it's others who are in similar sized organizations as mine. That's one of the things that sometimes frustrates me about trying to lump everybody in and define what FM is.

Mike:

It's hard to do. Yeah such a vast-

Sharon:

Somebody who has a huge portfolio of buildings and is a facility manager, their day to day job is very different from mine. I am all over the place. I am responsible for many different areas, and they may have expertise in one, space planning or something. So there really isn't a one size fits all.

Mike:

But you do get support and you find comradery and you find support, I guess is the word.

Sharon:

Support, comradery, inspiration. Absolutely. And I've got a handful of people that are my go to people. I can pick up the phone and whether it's saying, how much are you paying per square foot for carpet cleaning or who's this vendor I'm not really happy with this or... And knowing and trusting that they know what your issues are. They know what's important to you because they're dealing with the same thing. And so that's really important. And in this new building, going to people who've been through it, who've been through a move recently. These are all whole new things that I got to do. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. We have these tremendous resources in our fellow FM members who can just help us. And we are also teachers, I think. I think facility managers share. They want to share their information. They see the value of sharing information with their peers, with their colleagues, with their staff, with other people. If I can explain to other people why we're doing what we're doing, they'd embark at it. It's all about teaching as well.

Mike:

Giving service oriented, that is reward enough. So that's been really a great time.

Sharon:

I think our customers, my customers, I think everybody likes to see what's behind the scenes. What's behind the curtain. They may not know it, but then if you take the time to explain how things work or why they work that way they are interested.

Mike:

We're curious people.

Sharon:

Yes.

Mike:

And I am in this luxurious studio with my backstage pass. I'm like a rock star today folks.

Sharon:

You've got to put glasses on [crosstalk 00:17:26].

Mike:

This is really exciting. I do have my wayfarers from the 80s. I can put these on. Sing a little after the boys of summer have gone. I'm sorry.

Sharon:

I think you need to a picture. And you need to have that picture next to the podcast.

Mike:

That'll be our cast cover?

Sharon:

Yes.

Mike:

But what are you most excited about? Let me ask you this. What do you look forward to most at the end of the day, you're going to say, wow, this is really cool?

Sharon:

I like the change management part of it. I like being able have a plan, execute, be able to have people have an aha moment. That's what you meant. That's how this feels. And I think there'll be a lot of that in the new building. And I think people can't necessarily see that because they haven't been in the weeds like I have, but I think there will be a lot of those aha moments. And I think if, to your point about silos and every organization has them. And here, a lot of it has to do with the way the building is designed.

            You come off the elevator, you go to the left, there's one department there. You go to the right, there's another department there.

Mike:

You never see each other the whole day.

Sharon:

Each one becomes their own village. And then that just creates a completely different culture. And so just the very nature of having a more open floor plate and more light and running into people that you're not used to running into, that itself is going to change the culture. I don't know that people know that yet. So I think there'll be a lot of aha moments. And I think after the drinking from the firehose has stirred up, I think that will give me a lot of satisfaction knowing that I really contributed to those aha moments.

Mike:

Well, I got to wrap this up, so thank you, Sharon. This has been fun. It's been educational, been inspiring. All that I hoped you'd be. So thank you for being on the show today.

Sharon:

Thanks so much for coming. I really had a great time.

Mike:

There you have it everyone, Sharon Kinsman, giving us her insight and some inspiration around leading people through change and the workplace relocation going on at the National Association of Broadcasters, such good stuff. I hope you enjoyed that, as much as I did. I recently talked with Sharon again to get an update on the big move. And she mentioned how she's been working with folks she met through IFMA to help get things done, specifically the WE community. And the change management experts there have been a great resource for Sharon, which was really cool to hear. Lots going on this week in Phoenix with the Workplace Evolutionaries. And just for an update on the NAB project, Sharon tells me that they have completed the purchase of the new building and they will be moving into the new space sometime early next year, which is really exciting.

            Again, I can't wait to catch up with Sharon in person this week at World Workplace. And I hope you will continue to catch up with me on more episodes of this podcast, as we continue to encourage and inspire each other, to be a Workplace Innovator. Peace out. You've been listening to the Workplace Innovator Podcast. I hope you found this discussion beneficial as we work together to build partnerships that lead to innovative workplace solutions. For more information about how iOFFICE can help you create an employee centric workspace, by delivering digital technology that enhances the employee experience visit, iofficecorp.com.