1660317362509 Personaldevelopmentgoals

Investing in yourself: Why personal development is essential for achieving career goals

March 9, 2022
Jeff Shiver says the perfect environment takes engaged management and individuals who commit to life-long learning.

I’ve had conversations with maintenance managers recently who have yet to develop their basic knowledge on the subject. In some cases, they may be in their second or third maintenance manager position with different organizations and struggle to understand their role. How is it that these people have been left behind? Contrast that to organizations where I see relatively new to the role individuals progressively hitting peak after peak in their development, not just in their own realm but that of their team as well. What are the root causes for the differences?

From the Plant Floor

From the Plant Floor is a new monthly column that explores reliability challenges faced by organizations and solutions to overcome them.

No doubt there must be a willingness on the part of the organization to invest in and set expectations for their people’s development. I know of multiple instances where people requested training only to get the manager’s response of “buy the book.” Frustration ensues. And then, the manager wonders why the role and individual never meet the expectations. No improvements occur. Yet, we can’t lay this lack of knowledge only on management’s shoulders.

There must be a level of personal responsibility, where the individual commits to be a continuous learner. One must invest in themselves, not just with time. While you may not have considered funding your education, progressive individuals dedicate 10-15% of their personal income to their development on top of employer-provided training. As an aside, I heard a book publisher state that maintenance managers on average read less than one maintenance book per year. It’s a missed opportunity as books can contain an author’s lifetime of experience, distilled into print. But I’m not just advocating books, I’m suggesting webinars, articles, training courses, coaching, and certification too.

When I reflect on my own personal reliability journey and the thousands that we have interfaced with in workshops and implementations, realize the change begins with education. It’s not just role-specific such as planner training, it’s training the partners to understand how they fit into the bigger picture. For example, planners interact with production and engineering along with maintenance supervisors and technicians. All need to understand the vision of the future state. 

Training is only one part of the equation. A second major component is coaching, using internal or external resources as a guide to help people succeed. We all need a mentor or coach, yet most don’t understand the value or seek one out. One would think we would have learned the value by now. For thousands of years, stories share the value of the guide. Take a few movies as examples. Our favorite characters Obi-Wan and Yoda help Luke and his friends fight the evil Empire in Star Wars. Haymitch helps guide Katniss to survive and win the day in Hunger Games. A guide or coach works side-by-side with individuals, reviewing daily tasks, attending meetings, sharing improvements, strategically planning, and evaluating their competencies to guide them to higher levels.

Don’t overlook certification to validate your knowledge and demonstrate your ability. We have a long way to go to reach the tipping point with certification. In a quick search of LinkedIn for maintenance managers in the United States, over seventy thousand people hold the title currently. Less than 5% of that number holds the Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) designation. One of my frustrations is that many certifying associations do a great job of marketing to their members but a poor job of marketing to the masses.

Recently, I attended a late Friday meeting with an organization investing in their planners through a combination of training and coaching to achieve certification. The meeting was attended by the site manager, the operations managers, and the maintenance manager, in addition to the planners and supervisors. Overall, the organization is very progressive. I listened to the planners as they individually shared their experiences from their coaching weeks and their planned certification projects. As I listened to their presentations, I sensed the pride and positivity in all their voices. I don’t think I have ever heard a more positive and proud response from a site manager.

This story originally appeared in the March 2022 issue of Plant Services. Subscribe to Plant Services here.

About the Author: Jeff Shiver
Jeff Shiver CMRP is a founder and managing principal at People and Processes, Inc. Jeff guides people to achieve success in maintenance and reliability practices using common sense approaches. Visit www.PeopleandProcesses.com or email [email protected].
About the Author

Jeff Shiver | Founder and managing principal at People and Processes, Inc.

Jeff Shiver CMRP is a founder and managing principal at People and Processes, Inc. Jeff guides people to achieve success in maintenance and reliability practices using common sense approaches. Visit www.PeopleandProcesses.com or email [email protected].

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