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Explains in-depth the eight elements of change and how they relate to cultural change.

Discusses cultural change with a reliability focus.

Presents the subject in a way that middle managers will be able to understand and apply.

Includes a PowerPo
Improving Maintenance Reliability Through Cultural Change
(Cultural Change - Role Models)

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   by Stephen Thomas
Published By:
Industrial Press Inc.
Explains improving maintenance and reliability performance at plant level by changing the organization culture. Intended for middle managers in manufacturing and process industries. SALE! Use Promotion Code TNET11 on book link
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Role Models


5.1 What Is a Role Model?

When I was 29 years old, I was promoted to the position of Zone Supervisor. A zone supervisor was responsible for all of the maintenance work within a portion of the plant. In this job I had responsibility for approximately eight foremen and one hundred mechanics. I was the youngest person the company had ever promoted to a position of this nature. There were many reasons why. First, I had been successful in all of my previous positions and, second, I was part of an aging workforce. Two others and I were the first management employees hired into the maintenance organization in 20 years; everyone I worked with was over 50. The organization was trying to develop younger managers who could take over when the current managers retired.


I was very aware in this new role that I wasn’t clear what I was to do. Although my organization was older and far more experienced than I was, I was expected to lead them and manage their work. My predecessor had been very successful and was highly respected by the entire organization. He had the ability to motivate people and get things done regardless of the circumstances. He had not been moved to another position. He had been given several special projects, one of which was to teach me the ropes. At the time, our organization was based on a reactive work culture. When things broke down, it was maintenance’s job to fix them as quickly as possible and return the operation back to normal.


Being young and inexperienced, I copied the former supervisor. On many occasions, I asked for his opinion, help, and support in different circumstances. Over the next year, we had a very good relationship and he taught me what he thought I needed to be successful in my new position. In short, he was my role model. He had shown me how to be one of the best reactive maintenance professionals in our organization and shortly thereafter I was again promoted.


Several years later, the plant was sold to a private owner. At the time, I was in charge of all maintenance work in the plant. I reported directly to a maintenance manager brought in by the new owner to implement a reliability-based work culture. My specialty was reactive


repair, not reliability. However, I quickly took on a new role model and learned that there was more to work than fixing broken equipment. My new role model taught me about the concepts of reliability, good planning, and scheduling techniques as well as how to implement programs that (with production’s help) avoided equipment failure. The manager was successful in his conversion of the business and, as a key part of his team, so was I.


In both of these instances I emulated someone who I believed would provide the best maintenance services to the plant in the existing culture. Although my role models exhibited different traits and behaviors, they were correct for the culture in which they operated and were successful in their careers.


The remainder of this chapter will examine role models, why they are or are not successful, and how and why people emulate their behavior. We will also examine how and why people’s behaviors, and frequently their beliefs about how to operate the business, can be altered by these models.


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