- All Topics
- Training & Events
- Buyer's Guide
are our most valuable resource” is most probably the correct political statement
to make, but is this true? I do not think it is not true and in this article I
will explain why I think so.
book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins talks about having the right people on the bus
before you start a journey toward excellence. Those of you who have read his
book will recognize some of my reasoning here.
the last five months, I have asked front-line leaders in maintenance
organizations all over the world – including
So, the statement “People are our most valuable resource” cannot be right. Therefore, I suggest it should be changed to “The right people are our greatest resource.” The wrong people are not an asset; they are a liability. This example is about front-line people and if the same rough statistics are true also for management, it has worse consequences. The higher up in the organization you have the wrong people, the more damage they can do.
The best do
more and more
happens in many organizations with the wrong people in the front line is that
the best performers will do more and more and the lowest performers will do less
and less. As a front-line leader, it is more convenient for me to assign the
people who I know will do the job well and without any complaining than to
assign the less-willing and/or less-skilled people to do a job. This will result
in that the best performers will not only do more work, but they will also
become more and more skilled and the opposite will happen with the lower
performers. This is also a typical phenomenon in so-called self-governed teams.
Some individuals will not take on the same workload as the rest of the team and
the top performers are driven by pride in what they deliver.
people in the wrong position
years ago, a maintenance organization I recently worked with had taken away all
maintenance supervision and formed so-called “self-governed” teams. The
replacement for the supervisor and planner roles became the responsibility of a
rotating maintenance contact person for each team. The responsibility was
rotated on a monthly basis. Research has found that 97 percent of people are
followers and only 3 percent are good leaders. If this is true, it means that
the contact person role is the responsibility of the wrong person 97 percent of
the time. This also proved to be the fact. The self-governed teams had become
very reactive and ineffective, so now this organization had to face this fact
and reinstitute the positions of front-line leaders.
it is true that, in organizations with many wrong people, 70 percent of the work
is done by 30 percent of the people.
So if you
have many wrong people, how do you change this? In most cases, you can not do
anything in the very short term such as laying people off or moving them
somewhere else. Instead, you look at ratios of attrition and start hiring people
on other criteria more than you might have done in the past. For example, set a
higher value on attitudes and aptitudes than skills or the fact that they just
happen to live close by or their father worked in your
is not an acceptable timeframe for change and the situation is really bad, you
will probably soon start talking about more desperate actions such as
outsourcing of the entire maintenance organization.
Torbjörn (Tor) Idhammar is partner and vice president of reliability and
maintenance management consultants for IDCON Inc. His primary responsibilities
include training and implementation support for preventive maintenance/essential
care and condition monitoring, planning and scheduling, spare parts management,
and root cause problem elimination. He is the author of “Condition Monitoring
Standards” (volumes 1 through 3). He earned a BS in industrial engineering from
North Carolina State University and an MS in mechanical engineering from Lund
University (Sweden). Contact Tor at 800-849-2041 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.