Leadership is everyone's job

It's cold in Illinois. Fortunately, I'm in Orlando, Florida, at the ARC Forum.

Not only is the weather warm, but the people here are smart, and the sessions are incredibly valuable.

For example, this afternoon I sat in a session on world-class reliability. Each session is a combination of speakers looking at the same topic from different angles. What an unexpected delight to hear Jeff Dudley, maintenance technology center director at Dow Chemical, talk about leadership and its role in creating a culture of reliability.

His steps are simple and yet eloquent in the way they can guide an organization to a collection of responsible individuals.

“Unplanned events are disruptive,” he said. “Ten percent of revenue is wasted on unplanned events.”

Dudley explained how companies can create a reliability culture through leadership. “Leadership is different for everyone,” he said. If you want to create a culture of minimizing unplanned events, you have to align your goals, identifying the four steps in the transition.

“Once you agree with the alignment, you begin with awareness,” he said. “To create awareness, you have to talk about it all the time. After awareness comes accountability, which comes in the form of leadership. We have to give them a reason to say, ‘I need to do something.’ Make it personal.”

Once they do, they will begin to perform in a way to minimize unplanned events and exhibit proactive behavior, he explained. “The fourth step is to learn and teach,” said Dudley. “Knowledge isn’t valuable unless you teach it to someone else. A leader is obligated to learn and to teach.”

After all of these, you must be patient because it takes time to change the culture. “We have to change people’s behavior by giving them a reason to care,” he said. “Corporate behavior becomes individual behavior only through leadership.”