Maintenance Technology October 2015 - (Page 6)

UPTIME What's the Big Deal About Work Culture? Bob Williamson Contributing Editor W hen businesses make capital investments in new facilities, equipment, or technologies, they plan to achieve a return on their investment (ROI) in terms of reduced costs, improved margins, new products, or greater market response. They also plan for new business and work processes to bolster and sustain their ROI. But what about their plans to address changes in habits, behaviors, skill sets, and leadership in the workplace-the work culture-to assure the capital investment actually pays off in the short and long term? Work culture is the entire people side of a business. It's how people behave individually and collectively on the job. Quite often, our behaviors in the workplace differ greatly from how we behave in our homes, communities, and other organizations. All too often, work culture is taken for granted. "It is what it is," many people have told me. Yet, what happens when an influx of new, state-of-theart equipment, facilities, and technologies, destined to revolutionize business competitiveness, meets a traditional "it-is-what-it-is" work culture head-on? Before you over- or under-think this one, let's examine some typical work-culture enablers. Leadership Top-level leadership sets the tone of a work culture, be it functional, dysfunctional, or exceptional. And the faces of top-level leadership-upper management, union officials, governmental regulators, and/ or investors and boards of directors-call the shots on how things will get done. Leadership kicks in when such entities develop plans and strategies, make policy-level decisions, and decide where to spend resources to make new ventures successful. The bulk of the organization is expected to play follow-the-leader by developing tactics to achieve the top-down plans and strategies and making the policies (and work culture) come to life in the workplace. Consider, for example, the five basic business imperatives of environmental, health, safety, quality, and reliability. In almost 6| MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY every equipment-intensive business, none is more important than another. These imperatives are interdependent, i.e., they all depend on and affect each other. The confusion begins when top-level leaders announce, "Safety is our top priority," which, in turn, may compel some to ask, "What's the number two priority?" and "Where does quality fit in?" and "Isn't reliability important, too?" A work culture is being formed. Expectations, accountability, and trust Top-level leaders are responsible for setting very clear expectations for capital-improvement projects: goals, performance/outcomes, cost, schedules, and a life-cycle plan. Then, once the expectations are set, the leaders must hold themselves and others accountable for achieving these expectations. During this accountability process, leaders watch, listen, learn, and take action. Sometimes their actions are positive and encouraging, which suggests that they feel a sense of shared responsibility. Other times, their actions can be negative and punitive, with no suggestion of shared responsibility-call it blame. A work culture is being formed. Trust is gained and lost by the talk and the walk. Leaders set the tone for a work culture of trust. We've all learned that actions speak louder than words. Leaders who walk their talk are positioned to gain the trust of others in their organizations. The degree of trust in leadership is very contagious throughout an organization. A leader earns it. Setting the clearest of expectations with honest accountability and a shared responsibility (as in "we win or lose together") can help build trusting and enduring relationships. Likewise, the lack of clear expectations, followed by negative and punitive degrees of accountability, can fuel a serious loss of trust between those being led and the individuals hoping to lead them. Leaders who say (or demand) one thing and take actions that are inconsistent with their words will OCTOBER 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology October 2015

My Take
For on the Floor
Industry News
Crushing Limestone with Reliability
Choose Reliability or Cost Control
Get To The Root of the Cause
Select the Right Safety Logic System
Simple Purchasing Practices Incite Lubrication Failure
CMMS Upgrade Tips
Pump-Bearing Alignment
Lockout/Tagout Advice
Advancing Ergonomics
Ad Index

Maintenance Technology October 2015