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'Managing Change' - The Biggest Challenge in Reliability Leadership

Having just finished up at the Reliabilityweb.com annual Reliability Conference, I've come back 'super charged' and ready to focus my efforts on ensuring our clients can clearly define their Reliability initiatives and help them achieve success. It was a great event with leaders from various industries really driving home the key concepts, providing great insight into the technology that is rapidly growing in this space and establishing the framework by which to achieve excellence in the area of Reliability.

While these events do wonders both professionally and personally, after touching down back in Boston, I also felt a sense of dread, doubt and at the same time - a need for focus. 'How can we make these concepts work? Are our clients really ready for this? If this was my organization, how would I approach this?'

While at this event, I attended the Certified Reliability Leadership workshop, culminating with a certification exam, which I'm happy to report, I passed, credentialing me in the area of CRL. The key takeaways really focused on the need for proper sponsorship and leadership. Without these things, reliability efforts fail. This is where I began to think back on a college course that I had taken during my time at Northeastern University - Organizational Leadership.

During that class we were required to read the book 'Man's Search for Meaning' by Viktor Frankl. There is one quote that stood out in this class taken nearly 20 years ago that still rings true today.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
— Viktor Frankl

Organizationally, it is expected that leadership sets the goal posts. They define the mission and vision but fail to understand and address the true impact of what change really means. Breaking from the norm, establishing the future that did not exist really relies on leaders being able to change ourselves.

 (C) Juhan Ressar

(C) Juhan Ressar

Having held various managerial roles throughout my career, when an employee failed to meet expectations, I've always performed the necessary introspective review. 'What could I have done differently as this person's manager to make sure that they met my expectations? Is there something I would have done differently to ensure their success?' Many times as leaders, we fail to do this.

In the context of Reliability - this is critically important. When organizational change fails, as leaders, we need to perform the necessary internal review before we can start pointing to the 'cause' of the problem. Leaders who can focus on the 'why' we're doing what we're doing, instead of the 'what' and the 'how' will be far better served in seeing the organization break from the gravitational pull of legacy.

So as I take my new found knowledge into our client engagements, my focus will be on me. What do I need to do to change the direction of the ship? How can I ensure that the organization's Reliability journey is going to be a successful one? 

It all starts with changing me. Answering our own internal 'why' and focusing on the necessary change enablement strategies that will guide our clients to success in their Reliability journey.