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When Was the Last Time You Took a Stand?
Budgets. Personnel. Technology. Regulations. As topics of conversation, these all pass muster because they’re central to the daily maintenance of facilities. But as hot-button issues, they leave something to be desired.
Topics of conversation, as I see it, are the run-of-the-mill things you could talk about almost anytime with almost anyone. All managers have budgets, they all oversee people, and they all have to incorporate technology into their professions. You could talk about some of these topics with your next-door neighbor.
Issues, on the other hand, might arouse passion and lead to differences. Some issues — the expanding role of maintenance in facilities’ green efforts, maintenance managers as stewards of facilities, and trends in outsourcing, just to name three — trigger new thoughts and spark creativity. In some cases, they prompt people to form an opinion and take a stand.
Certainly, topics such as budgets, technology, and personnel have an important place in discussions of maintenance and engineering management. Managers grapple with them daily. They are the meat and potatoes of maintenance departments.
But conversations that center on issues force people to look differently at maintenance and engineering management. I know this from talking with your peers. Asking some managers about budgets and technology in this profession gets you a conversation. But pushing a little deeper and asking about hot-button issues almost guarantees you a dissertation. In those discussions lies the future of the profession.
In March, I’ll be in Baltimore at the National Facilities Management & Technology Conference and Maintenance Solutions Expo. The conference schedule — www.MaintenanceSolutionsExpo.com — is filled with eductional sessions that cover the entire range of maintenance and engineering management issues.
I hope to see you there. Ask me about these issues or others. Better yet, tell me where you stand.