By looking at a learn/work environment from Finance, Operations, Sales & Marketing and Human Resources, the relationship with the organizational goals is more visible and a Strategic Accommodation Roadmap can be created to navigate. This gives both the hard economic and the soft social aspects a place within the context of how an organization wants to stand in society and be recognized.
A Strategic Accommodation Roadmap is an accommodation planning tool just like there are tools for budgeting finances. It contains scenarios for the future (Change, Improve, Transform, Create) tailored to the specific organizational context.
Often there is at the management a sense of having no grip on the learn/work environment. Where does this feeling come from? Too little measured or are the wrong aspects measured? Does more grip means more measuring or is it mainly about to figure out the relevant issues that contribute to adding value to the organization goals? Why are we doing something? What are the contributions? What do we want to accomplish? How can we achieve this?
The learn/work environment, consisting of Real Estate (CREM), Facility management (FM) and ICT, does not stand alone, but has a strong influence on all management focus areas.
Focusing on the parts of a whole may teach us a lot about the architecture of the components, but only to the extent where we are able to relate each individual part to the whole that it makes up.
The stereotype of accommodation being an operational headache needs some revision. René Stevens
Interventions in the learn/work environment are usually characterized by their ad hoc nature, while they are in fact part of the integrated organizational strategy. The vision and mission of an organization are translated into ambitions, goals and a strategy to achieve them. Raising the question “Is the learn/work environment an operational headache or a strategic opportunity?”, set us of on an ongoing discovery journey.
Since 2003, the AV-Strategic Alignment Matrix® (SAM) method has been developed into what it is today. It provides the connecting link between organizational goals on the one hand and learn/work environment performance on the other, and thus forms the business basis for strategic and dynamic accommodation and real estate management. (Public and Corporate Real Estate Management – PREM / CREM).
An applied SAM is always organization-specific. The SAM method provides insight and understanding of the large amount of policy information with derived relevant success indicators for required learn/work environment performance. Moreover, it is a means of conducting a dialogue about the mutual coordination of real estate / buildings with the other business assets Facility Management and ICT, which creates a focus on the intended (integrated) value creation.
It helps to formulate the implications of strategic choices more clearly and to communicate with relevant (internal) stakeholders. The SAM matrix is a simple and flexible framework for balancing value creation with the learn/work environment with costs, risks and time involved in initiating, implementing and operating it.
A completed SAM matrix also forms the basis for systematic evaluation, monitoring and, if necessary, adjustment of interventions in the learn/work environment. This makes continuous improvement possible and is a building block for a learning organization.
The SAM-model can be used to develop an integrated learn/work environment strategy that contributes to the achievement of organizational goals (Strategic Accommodation Roadmap). It has been developed in such a way that it is always custom-made for an organization.
The AV-Strategic Alignment Matrix provides a frame to identify the relevant matters that add value to the organizational objectives, the so-called value drivers or success determining factors. Once these are known, the right measures of success can be developed and made SMARTI (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, Time-bound and Inspiring).
Making choices for targeted interventions in the current learn/work environment. Evaluating efforts, which will give feedback on the strategy. It enables action-oriented management and accountability.
The learn/work environment is a complex integrated ecosystem where cause and effect relationships are difficult to isolate. The power of the SAM-model is that it is robust, fast and adaptable to make connections between the hard and the soft learn/work environment factors and the business process of value creation.
Comparing multiple data reveals relationships that were previously hidden. It connects the mind with the heart. A responsible analysis of all costs and benefits, both in the field of real estate, facilities and ICT and from the perspective of a well-functioning organization and the well-being of employees is therefore possible (Value case).
The effects of cost reduction or realization of asset value are usually difficult to replicate; however, the so-called soft results of culture and process changes can be continuously enhanced and improved. The ‘soft’ measures of human engagement, as used in the marketing and communications industry, are in most cases more relevant than the necessary ‘hard’ absolute measures of cost and square footage. Especially when the soft relative indicators of performance are monitored over a longer period of time.
The SAM-method sorts the formulated strategy to achieve the organization goals to the management focus areas: Finance, Operations, Sales & Marketing and Human Resources. Each quadrant looks at how the learn/work environment can contribute to these (sub)goals. The required performances of the learn/work environment asset are made explicit for that purpose.
The Strategic Alignment Matrix consists of two vertical axes, a ‘hard’ axis with economic goals, Finance – Operations (What can the building do?), and a ‘soft’ axis with social goals, Sales & Marketing – Human Resources (What does the building do with you as a person?). The two axes are connected with each other like communicating vessels. It is important to find for your own organization the optimal balance between both axes. Too much emphasis on the ‘hard’ economic axis is at the expense of the social aspects on the ‘soft’ axis.
About 70-80% of the budget consists of employee costs. Only 8-12% is about accommodation costs. It is the employees who take care of the turnover. Would you rather like to get the optimum out of the accommodation or from the potential of the employees? It is obvious to focus on achieving an effective learn/work environment instead of (only) cost efficiency.
In the figure the aspects from the 7S-model and the Balanced Score Card (BSC) are mentioned in order to create added value. The SAM methodology sorts the formulated strategy to achieve the organizational goals into the four strategic management focus areas. For each quadrant it is examined how the learn/work environment contributes to these (sub) goals. The whole, the value proposition (7S-1 Strategy), is more than the sum of its parts (7S-2 to 7S-6).
Subsequently, in the four fields: Efficiency, Effectiveness, Image building and Community/Team building, the accommodation performance is stated that contribute to the achievement of the organizational goals as inventoried in the four management focus areas. The required performance of the learn/work environment asset (Real Estate, FM and ICT) is thus made explicit. This enables a learning process of transparent objective monitoring, adaptation and communication of feedback instead of identifying problems and allocating errors.
The appointed accommodation performances in the 4 orange fields, Efficiency, Effectiveness, Image building and Community/Team building, form the input to an adequate learn/work environment strategy, schedule of requirements or benchmark study. The big advantage is that it remains clear to what organizational purpose the accommodation performances should contribute.
This provides consistency with the organizational goals and mutual coordination between the Real Estate, FM and ICT assets. It aligns and harmonizes the learn/work environment with the organizational strategic objectives.
In order to actually achieve the desired end result, it is essential to describe the accommodation objectives clearly and measurably. This makes it possible to determine whether the quantitative targets have been achieved and whether the desired behavioural change has occurred. Communication with the users about the measured results and their own subjective experiences is crucial. After all, it is about optimally facilitating the potential of the employees/students.
“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
Keep in mind Albert Einstein’s quote: “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” The performance of the learn/work environment eco-system is best benchmarked against relevant components and ambitions/goals within the own organization instead of (only) with external (comparable) organizations.
The management is thus able to dynamically steer the accommodation process based on the integral organizational strategy and therefore retains control. This is desperately needed because organizations, work processes and therefore the learn/work environment are constantly subject to change under the influence of all kinds of economic, technological and social developments. See also the articles Strategic accommodation and The Strategic building unraveled.
The AV-Strategic Alignment Matrix® (SAM) is in fact a lens to look at the organizational strategy. With SAM you literally zoom in on the learn/work environment in all its facets. SAM makes the connection between the hard and the soft aspects of business operations with accommodation visible and measurable. It uses SMART performance indicators by means of the REN-method. Result agreements on the asset mix (Real Estate, FM and ICT) can now be directly linked to one or more of the organization’s ambitions/goals.
SAM provides the framework and context to manage a learn/work environment evidence based, according to the eight constraints of a project, Scope, Time, Resources, Experience, Risk, Information, Cost, Quality (STRERICQ). This helps in making choices for targeted interventions in the current learn/work environment. It makes users and decision-makers more aware of the impact of the accommodation on the organizational strategy. A strategic learn/work environment is therefore within reach and contributes to a competitive advantage.
To belong to the group of winners, an organization should regularly evaluate its learn/work environment strategy with a 360° feedback survey. This provides strategic agility through continuous improvement using the Deming cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA). The success of an organization is usually not determined by the strength of a strategy, but by the extent to which the strategy is implemented.
In the development of the Office Styles®, a classification of office organizations based on corporate style, management style and culture (vision and values), the AV-Strategic Alignment Matrix®, in addition to Motivaction Mentality Model®, was one of the pillars.
How employees and the organization where they work, relate to each other becomes clear with the help of the Prosperity Model®. For an application of the Strategic Alignment Matrix see also Real Estate General Performance Survey (RE-GPS) with the Dutch webinar “Inspiring Workplaces that promote value creation”.
- Focus on intended (integrated) value creation for organization and people.
- Your own organization’s ambitions are clearly mapped out per management field of attention and prioritized.
- Involvement of stakeholders guaranteed.
- Coherence between strategic ambitions and the assets mix of Real Estate / Building, Facility Management and ICT.
- Promotes dialogue about mutual coordination between Real Estate, Facility Management and ICT.
- Quick insights into status if performances are achieved and/or adjustment is required.
- Action-oriented management and accountability for strategic agility of the learn/work environment.
- Aligns and synchronizes the learn/work environment with the organizational strategic objectives.