Maintenance Technology June 2017 - 37
'Leaders' and 'Leadership'
n previous installments of this column, I've written
that leadership and culture are determinants of an
asset-management system. That comes right out of
ISO 55000 documents. This Standard also states,
"Leadership and commitment from all managerial
levels is essential for successfully establishing, operating, and improving asset management within the
organization" (ISO 55000, 2.4.2). A note of caution:
Don't confuse asset-management "leadership" with
asset-management "leaders" or "managers." Let me
A leader (or manager) is someone with the
responsibility to take action. Leadership, on the
other hand, refers to a behavior, one that inspires and
motivates. A designated leader (or manager), though,
doesn't always exhibit leadership behaviors.
Leaders (or managers) involved in the highest
levels of decision-making in a business can require
and resource an organization's conformance, compliance, or certification to the ISO 55000: 2014 Asset
Management Standard. These people are referred to
as "top management" (as defined in the Standard).
But asset-management leadership doesn't have to
mean a designated person in the executive suite.
Leadership behaviors can be exhibited anywhere
in an organization, from top management to people
at all levels of an organization, i.e., a leadership team.
That's what we want and need for establishment of
fully functional asset-management systems.
When we envision an leader as "someone" who
is responsible for establishing an organization's
asset-management system, we're probably asking way
too much of a single person. An asset-management
leader should be a person who is actively involved
in setting expectations, providing resources, holding
people and teams accountable, and generally setting
the direction and maintaining progress toward
a goal. Organizations should have many assetmanagement leaders.
To clarify: Each phase of the asset-management
life cycle is likely embodied in different sub-divisions
of the greater organization, each with their own
hierarchy or management structures. There should
be an asset-management leader-one who is responsible for providing leadership-within each of these
organizational sub-divisions. This divisional leader
is also part of the bigger, overall asset-management
leadership team governed by top-level management.
Top management, as discussed in the ISO 55000
documents, refers to the top-level business decision
makers. In this role, it's unlikely that these managers
would be asset-management leaders. But they're
definitely in an asset-management leadership role
through their responsibilities to stakeholders.
All too often, the terms "leader," "leadership,"
and "management" are used interchangeably. In the
ISO 55000 area, there is a key difference. Those in
top management define (by design or default) an
organization's asset-management culture. They set
the overarching tone and tenor of the organization's
behaviors in the quest for establishing an asset
management system (whether related to ISO 55000
or something else). They inspire and motivate (and/
or require) an organization to take action through
the hierarchy of asset-management leaders.
An asset-management culture depends on leaders
and leadership at all levels and sub-divisions of an
organization as they align for establishing a life-cycle
asset-management system. I believe this is what
is meant by "Leadership and commitment from
all managerial levels is essential for successfully
establishing, operating and improving
asset management within the organization." MT
Bob Williamson, CMRP, CPMM,
and a member of the Institute
of Asset Management, is in his
fourth decade of focusing on
the people-side of world-class
maintenance and reliability
in plants and facilities across
North America. Contact him
The ISO 55000:2014 Asset Management Standard could play a major
role in industry in the coming years. Keep up to date with our ongoing
coverage of this Standard at maintenancetechnology.com/iso55k.
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