Resistance to CHANGE in the maintenance business – part 1

Resistance to CHANGE in the maintenance business – part 1

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This is a two part success story about how an iconic American ship builder chose to take the courageous step into CHANGE.  This first part lays the foundation of why a ship builder would need to change, plus gives insight into the challenges associated with such a decision.  Part two will give more details on that change process experienced by the ship builder, and help relate their success to how other maintenance or engineering professionals can achieve the same success.

But first the ship building icon…

After many years in business, the maintenance management team realized they needed to change.  Why?  Because, although the ships were still being built as strong and true as ever, the maintenance process they were using to maintain the manufacturing infrastructure was sinking, so to speak.

Fast forward to the current day, and we know now that all it took for this to be a success story was some flexible thinking among it’s dedicated staff, and a little help from their friends at TRO Maintenance Solutions and Global Wide Maintenance.

So why does it take so much courage to commit to change?  Well the answer is simple.  All of us have tried change something in the past.  Usually the first thing we encounter is resistance.  Whether that resistance comes from within us, or around us, it is the number one killer of change.

When implementing a maintenance management strategy, a critical component to most certainly deal with every time is the inevitable resistance to change.  Whether it is the introduction of new software or a complete overhaul of the maintenance function, the process of change usually represents the involvement of disruptive technology.  A “thought-path” of least resistance might tell us that most changes are really just improvements on something old and, thus, the old paradigms can be used as a starting point.  However, there are often changes that organizations need to make (whether they do or not is another story) that serve to disrupt the dominant paradigm, rather than sustaining it.  These types of shifts usually involve disruptive technologies and make the old things less important or obsolete.  The problem with these disruptive changes is that people will still attempt to apply the old paradigms to the new realities.  This is a mistake, which leads to resistance. When this mistake is being made, the person feeling feeling and thus spreading the resistance are, in a sense, trying to understand the car as nothing more than a carriage without horses.

In part 2 of this story, we will learn how the following elements played out at the ship building business in manner that resulted in a very successful change for the better:

  • Disruptive Change
  • How to change mindset – moving from the horseless carriage to the car
    • Model for Sustainable Improvement
  • Using the Flexible Thinker®
  • Implementing the learning strategy
  • Lessons learned