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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities
A newsletter header image with an image of Dan Bollman behind the title 'The Details with Dan Bollman'

Change happens

October 12, 2017

Stop where you are. Take a deep breath. Look around you. Choose an interesting item and really take a good look at it. Take another deep breath. Keep looking. One more deep breath. Carry on.

Taking time to focus on yourself for a minute is essential when you’re feeling stressed. Change causes stress, and if there’s one thing we know around here, it’s change. It feels never ending, and we keep waiting for things to “get back to normal.” Change makes us uncomfortable—it takes us outside our comfort zone. It forces us to think differently, work differently and react differently. With change, you must expect and embrace chaos. Change is essential to evolving and moving forward as a world, a society, a university and an organization—but that doesn’t make it easy.

IPF’s organization keeps shifting. We recently integrated our IT functions with MSU IT Services. Building Services and Campus Services have been restructured to create greater collaborations between departments, and Individual units have experimented with smaller changes.

What about process/policy changes? The Facilities Connect project participants will be choosing a system to replace FAMIS, and eventually, many of us will have to get trained on it. Then, there are all things mobile. All IPF employees who need one will be getting an iPhone, iPad or some other “I” device that is MSU owned. This has the potential to significantly change how we communicate.

Just to confuse things even more, some IPF staff members are moving soon. Strategic Initiatives (SI) staff members will vacate their current space in the IPF building to move across Chestnut Street into Holden Hall. IPF staffers that are currently in Holden are moving back to the IPF building, and part of IT Services will move into space vacated by SI staff members. Can you say “musical chairs?”

Change can be frustrating and confusing, but there’s a reason we put up with it: the benefits. The IT integration is projected to make IT support for the campus more efficient (less duplication, etc.). That means saving money. IPF departments moving and merging make us better aligned and operations run more smoothly—again, that saves money and allows us to provide greater value to our campus customers. When FAMIS is replaced, there’ll be some pain involved in training and getting up to full speed, but if it gives us a better way to do the administrative and operational tasks we need to do, it’ll be worth it. Making IPF staffers more productive while they’re in the field is a clear benefit of the mobile plan. And the upcoming moves put people who are doing similar things together to create better collaboration and interaction.

When it comes to change, you have to take the long view. You need patience and an open mind. Don’t be the stick in the mud who says, “We’ve always done it this way.” Ask questions. Get off the fence. Participate. If change is coming no matter what you do, getting on board is a much better choice than getting run over!


Until next time, 



P.S. I haven’t forgotten about my call for suggestions from everyone. I’ve received a few, but please keep them coming! You can send them directly to me at