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Leadership, Legacy, and Longevity: Part 2: Communicating for Your Reliability Journey

Michael Guns discusses the role of effective communication in your reliability journey.  Are you Communicating with FINESSE?
Michael Guns discusses the role of effective communication in your reliability journey.

With a company’s journey toward reliability in maintenance there is an inherent need to understand the path and means to get toward that reliability. Therefore, COMMUNICATION toward those goals and aspirations is imperative to accomplish this goal. Part two of this series is surrounded by the ideas of how to communicate the needs of each one of the three effects of your journey: leadership, legacy, and longevity.


Leadership is "inspiring a group or organization to one common goal"(Uptime Elements Dictionary, Gulati, 54). The key principle in the previous statement is INSPIRE. In the previous whitepaper, we explained the need for leadership in your maintenance and reliability journey. The key to that leadership portion is bound by communication through inspiration. The difference between LEADERs and MANAGERs is honestly defined by who can communicate the vision and goals of the organization and inspire them to achieve that model versus just aligning processes and procedures to get the same effect.

Realizing that you can lead with an empathetic and communicative attitude that fosters buy-in from your groups is what true leadership means.

Leading your organization requires understanding. Are you Communicating with FINESSE?
Leading your organization requires understanding through effective communication.

You need to understand your workforce, the challenges that they have and how to overcome them. Leading your organization toward a more defined yet aligned role in the processes of how you do your business requires understanding. Not all people learn at the same rates. Not all people understand intent the same way. Leadership truly means understanding these differences and the challenges to them. Leaders then have a way of relaying the information in a way that provides understanding to the workforce to attain those goals through communication. Communication is set by a few basic parameters:

  • Empathy – understanding the workforce issues, personal and professional.

  • Trust – aligning yourself as a leader with the workforce to the goal and “having their back.”

  • Integrity – simply put, being true to your word, but in a way that you stand your ground when the time comes.

Using these three traits in a communicative manner will allow you to become a great leader and manage your folks to the task needed in a more productive manner.


True to the statement, "That’s how we've always done it!”? as a leader you will be looking for ways to break the legacy chains to be more productive. Managing different than the last person requires trust on the part of the workforce. Their mindsets are driven by what was past. Therefore, communicating your expectations effectively promotes the legacy of the organization to move in a much different direction.

Truth in your actions, simply stating your requirements, and communicating them in a manner that leads the workforce to a decision is the break point that is needed to change the culture. Fostering change within an organization that is so deeply rooted in the past takes a little time. Aligning them to the future goals and processes will need that communicative attitude to break down those walls. Being transparent with your requirements is the first step.

Communication plays a key role in fostering change takes time and understanding.
Communication plays a key role in fostering change takes time and understanding.

Let it be known your expectations and what you know will guide the workforce toward that better understanding. Most people in leadership positions are very territorial when it comes to information sharing. This is how legacy is created, and that is how legacy stands time. How do we break the cycle:

  • Be transparent with information flow. Just because it seems the workforce doesn’t need to know about something doesn’t mean they don’t. The more proactive you are at divulging information and showing the big picture the more buy-in you will receive.

  • Make the workforce part of the process. Often times managers work the problem out themselves and don’t allow ideas from the workforce to be communicated. They are the boots on the ground!! It is imperative to the success of a leader to break legacy by adding workforce input to the process.

  • BE GENUINE. The workforce can feel and sense when you are not honest. This propagates mistrust and that is the downfall of a leader. Genuine actions, a willingness to get your hands dirty, and empathizing the needs of the workforce are all traits that root cultural change.


Goal-oriented, maintenance leadership communication practices provide a more sustainable future for organizations. Your organization should have an AIM. Communicating that AIM to the workforce is a pivotal role for a leader. Being that person who provides a path and lives the path with the workforce defines the longevity of any program. It sparks interest in change and drives the thoughts of the organization toward a better tomorrow.

A two-way communication loop provides the bridge for sustainable change.
A two-way communication loop provides the bridge for sustainable change.

As stated before, continuous improvement throughout your organization should also be reviewed for longevity. If you are creating and fostering communication, with your change management practices from the legacy section, providing a learning program for your workforce and allowing your workforce to "manage UP", the longevity of your program AIM will be attainable.

Your workforce is your greatest asset and will perform better and stronger for their leadership and there will be a two-way communication loop to provide the bridge toward the change spanning the test of time. Being a communicator versus a dictator provides stability in the processes you will be aligning, therein garnering the buy-in of your workforce to break the chain of legacy and formulate a plan of longevity.


Being the element of change using communication, empathy, and true LEADERSHIP is the key to aligning your reliability journey. Remember too that your journey requires people interacting and understanding the process. Not being able to be a communicative leader your role will be matched with animosity and possibly downfall.

Being a communicative leader shows the workforce that you can be trusted.  Are you Communicating with FINESSE?
Being a communicative leader shows the workforce that you can be trusted.

Being a communicative leader with empathy and being genuine in your pursuit shows the workforce that you can be trusted. That is when the buy-in occurs and your journey forward is cemented.

Do not forget the Legacy by communicating the organizational mindset and how you can change that for productive movement forward. Use your Leadership to gain trust by being transparent and genuine. If you do those two things the longevity of your organizational path will be profound and withstand the test of time.


Gulati, Ramesh. “Uptime Elements Dictionary for Reliability Leaders and Asset Managers.” (2017-2019).

O’Hanlon, Terrance, et al. “Uptime Elements Body of Knowledge.” (2017-2019).

Sinek, Simon. “Why Good Leaders Make you Feel Safe”,


Michael Guns is a Senior Maximo Consultant for JFC & Associates. He is responsible for implementation and development of IBM Maximo and EAM processes for a robust maintenance and reliability portfolio. He is an advocate for the maintenance and reliability community by extending learning opportunities to align those strategies to fit different business models and implement them. He has been utilizing Maximo for 10 years.

Previously Guns served as Associate Director of Maintenance Strategy & Planning for the University of Delaware from 2013-2021. Prior to that, he worked as Division Manager for Solar for Wanex Electrical Services in New Castle, De between 2009-2013. He also owns and operates Electranet Enterprises, an Electrical/Data Communications and Maintenance Information company, where he has provided reviews and services for local companies since 2004.

Guns has earned the following credentials:

Master Electrician's license for Delaware in 2002 and Maryland in 2006.

Certified Reliability Leader certification - 2019

Certified Educational Facilities Professional - 2020

Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional in 2021

IBM Certified Deployment Professional - Maximo Asset Management v7.6 Functional Analyst – 2022

Maximoworld 2021 Award – Best Work Execution Management w/ Prometheus Group

Previously held NABCEP certification for Solar Installation from 2009-2013.

Michael Guns can be reached at 302.358.9381 or


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