Tough Decisions: Managers Need a Strong Conscience

By Chris Matt, Managing Editor - Print & E-Media  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Managers, Departments Deserve RecognitionPt. 2: This Page

Given the challenges they face and the responsibilities they bear, maintenance and engineering managers have broad shoulders.

Imagine on each shoulder sits a powerful conscience. Before making critical decisions, managers consult with each conscience, weighing the pros and cons that come with following its respective guidance.

For example, before managers decide to implement an initiative such as green purchasing — a common element in broader sustainability programs — they must weigh all facets of the decision.

On one shoulder, a manager's conscience is reminding him that before focusing on green purchasing, he should shore up deferred maintenance. On the other shoulder, the conscience is acting as a sustainability cheerleader.

I thought of this example as I reported on this month's project profile, featuring the demand-response program in Allegheny County, Pa.

I asked the county's deputy director of public works if he acted as the quarterback in planning for and executing demand-response events. He concurred, and in response, the county's sustainability manager said, "I think if he's the quarterback, I'm pretty much the cheerleader."

The deputy director talked about the culture shift taking place among his staff, as workers try to focus on sustainability and energy-efficiency goals despite ongoing challenges, such as deferred maintenance. The sustainability manager — figuratively on the shoulder of the deputy director and public works staff — always reminds workers of the environmental impact of their decisions.

Despite the manager's persuasive cheerleading, the deputy director admits that environmental impact is only part of the decision. He understands that before implementing new initiatives, he must listen to his conscience — both of them.

Chris Matt offers insights gleaned from conversations with managers who make key maintenance and engineering decisions in commercial and institutional facilities.

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Continue Reading: Talking Points

Managers, Departments Deserve Recognition

Tough Decisions: Managers Need a Strong Conscience

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  posted on 3/3/2011   Article Use Policy

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