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At the University of Minnesota, Bill Paulus, Associate Vice President of Facilities Management, is spearheading a comprehensive overhaul of the department's strategic approach. During a recent Higher Ed Facilities Forum presentation, Paulus unveiled a four-phase program to elevate facilities management beyond traditional upkeep, aligning it closely with the university's broader mission and goals.

"We manage buildings, but we're in the people management business," Paulus explained, highlighting the strategy's dual focus on infrastructure and human resources. This approach moves beyond the often-parodied concept of "Strategery," demonstrating that facilities management can be both practical and strategically significant.

What sets this initiative apart is its remarkable attention to detail. The team has meticulously mapped out 416 separate processes and developed 150 success statements, each with specific, measurable objectives. This granular approach enables precise progress tracking across all facilities management areas, turning abstract goals into concrete actions.

One of the plan's most ambitious aspects is the goal of creating standardized operating procedures for all 1,400 staff members. This initiative aims to improve consistency and efficiency, particularly in anticipation of future workforce changes, ensuring everyone from groundskeepers to senior managers is aligned with the strategic vision.

Intriguingly, the strategy has garnered interest at all levels of the organization. Paulus's bi-weekly newsletters have become essential reading, with staff members across the spectrum eager to understand and contribute to the strategic vision. It's a testament to how effective communication can turn complex strategies into engaging, institution-wide initiatives.

UMN's approach demonstrates that facilities management can be more than just maintaining infrastructure - it can be a key driver of institutional success. With its attention to detail, granular approach, and focus on people management, this innovative strategy could serve as a blueprint for the future of facilities management in higher education.

Watch Bill's full presentation here 👇 


Tracey Lerminiaux

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Tracey Lerminiaux is a content and conference producer for influence group focused on healthcare, higher education, and hospitality. She's a lifelong learner that loves connecting intriguing minds and hearing a good story. Though, if a cute dog crosses her path, all bets are off and she will be stopping to say hello

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