What's the hidden secret to success?

John Schultz

If you want to transform your condition-based maintenance program, it's not about buying the hottest gadget, software or computer system. It's not about the latest fad, gimmick or scheme which will let you push a button and improve your equipment reliability overnight … because that doesn't exist. In truth, the surest way to transform your program is to change the way you and your company think about condition-based maintenance. In other words, it's what's between your ears that counts.

Clearly, there's a direct link between the way we think and the way we act. Earl Nightingale, the great writer, speaker and broadcaster, called it "The Strangest Secret" to success when he stated, "We become what we think about."

Essentially, every action springs from the hidden seeds of thoughts. Whether it's spontaneous or premeditated, all action is rooted in thoughts.

For example, imagine you are driving down the road, with no traffic in sight, and you're listening to your favorite music. Suddenly, as you come over the top of a hill, you see a police car on the side of the road with a radar gun. What's the first thing you do? Take your foot off the gas, right? Even if you weren't driving over the speed limit, just the thought of getting pulled over causes you to immediately slow down. That's a simple example of the "cause and effect" relationship between the way you think and the way you behave. Actions are merely thoughts that have been completed.


All you have ever achieved and all that you will achieve is a direct result of your thinking. That's the most powerful secret to success, and it has stood the test of time.

What that means is, if most people in your company believe "fix it when it breaks" is the best approach to maintenance, that's exactly the kind of program you'll have. On the other hand, if most people believe in planned, proactive, condition-based maintenance, then that's the kind of program you'll have. If your company's thinking is inconsistent, the results will be somewhere in the middle.

The point is, you can't consistently perform in a manner that is inconsistent with your thinking. So if your program isn't where you want it to be, you need to adjust your thinking, instead of searching for all the answers externally.


You've probably heard Albert Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. But truly, insanity is thinking the same things over and over and expecting different results, because if you keep on thinking what you're thinking, you'll keep on doing what you're doing. And if you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you've got.

If you want different results, the first step is to change the way you and your organization think. That's the straightest, surest path to achievement. There can be no sustained progress or achievement without it.


There are two paths to CBM success. You can build it, or you can sit on it and wait for it to grow. Make no mistake, the top programs didn't happen by accident. I'll bet you every one of them started with a small group of people who believed there was a better way of doing things. They were intellectually curious, so they went out and got educated in best practices.

That's why the impact of training can't be overstated. You see, the real opportunity for success lies within the person, not the job. Let's face it, most locked doors are in people's minds. People rarely commit to a program that is imposed on them. But they willingly commit to a program they help create.

Study after study proves the value of training and education. Every dollar invested in training is returned many times over in increased effectiveness. Education infuses new ideas, concepts and thought patterns. It's the seed that triggers the imagination, creates energy and sparks the change.

Any maintenance organization can change their results by renewing their minds, focusing on the right things and sticking with it long enough to get results. That's how you enter the ranks of the highest achievers.

John Schultz is a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional through the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals and is a partner with Allied Reliability. As the largest consulting, engineering and service firm focused on predictive and preventive maintenance, Allied serves more than 200 plants and facilities. For more of John's insights, subscribe to the new free e-course "How to Avoid the Seven Biggest Mistakes in Predictive Maintenance" at www.alliedreliability.com. You may also call 812-841-9252 or e-mail schultzj@alliedreliability.com

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