In 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 explain.
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 asset-management 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 at RobertMW2@cs.com.