Still the most challenging topic most companies face in maintenance and reliability is one of leadership. Many organizations feel that they are not achieving the effectiveness and efficiency they believe they should due to a lack of understanding of leadership. The one thing that has stood out in my recent visits to organizations to help with this challenge has been the lack of a fundamental of leadership – managing. The interesting part is that each organization recognized they needed work on things like motivation, inspiration, involvement, engagement etc. but none recognized that their structure and systems for managing were broken. If we don’t have the systems in place to manage and control how do we expect to demonstrate those afore-mentioned traits of leaders? We need to remember that a good manager may be a good leader, but good leaders MUST be good managers. Too often we think of leadership in the philosophical terms that were mentioned but as the leadership guru Peter Drucker’s “Effective leadership is not about making speeches and being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.”
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A couple of months ago, I visited an organization that had just started an initiative to reduce their spend on spare parts. The odd thing about this initiative was that it was driven by finance and procurement. The focus was on cutting the price they paid for these spare parts. When I asked why this initiative had started, I was told that someone in finance felt that their procurement practices weren’t what they should be. They believed that there was opportunity to cut costs through better management of the process.
Do you find yourself wondering why your employees haven't taken the initiative and approached you for additional training? Well, they must not want the extra training, right? Wrong! Sometimes, employees do want training, but they just don't ask. Here's why:
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I’ve been having interesting conversations lately via e-mails, Linkedin, assignments and also at conferences. I’d like to talk about what I’ve seen and heard specifically at a couple of conferences that I’ve spoken at recently. The conversation usually starts with some disgruntled maintenance supervisor or manager telling the people around him or her that they are just not getting the results they expected from their planning and scheduling system or their PM program really doesn’t seem to be delivering what they expected - some may even be bold enough to point the finger at the guys on the shop floor. What happens next is that they get a bunch of heads nodding and comments like ‘Yeh feel the pain and me too.’
In the first blog entitled ‘I Just Can’t Get Buy In’ we concluded that when we find ourselves in a situation where Change hasn’t gone the way we wanted, we have no option but to trace the steps back and find out where the initiative went off track. In the example, we used which involved moving from one on one shift communications to computer recorded, it was that some employees had English as a second language. Quite often it is not something as drastic as that but no matter what the reason for the sidetrack it is only recognized after a failure. This approach is very much like employing Reactive Maintenance as your maintenance strategy – we wait until something fails and do whatever we need to fix it.
I recently posted this discussion on Linkedin