Getting senior leaders on board when setting a new direction, or launching a new initiative, is one of the most important factors to consider when planning your maintenance program. However, many teams struggle to secure the right level of support and budget, making it harder to source funding and impossible to create sustainable, lasting change.

Let’s explore the top four ways you can engage senior leaders to foster the support you need to deliver valuable programs across your organisation.

1. Align your asset maintenance program to your organisation’s corporate strategy

Aligning your asset maintenance program with your organisation’s corporate strategy draws a line directly between your efforts and the value this creates for your organisation. This helps senior leaders understand how your program contributes to your organisation’s operational success.

It’s best to focus on the commercial benefits as this language will be compelling to senior leaders. Explain how your maintenance program will get more out of your assets, increase throughput, reduce downtime, remove wastes and costs, or boost profits. Consider communicating this visually, using graphics to back up your thinking.

Be sure to focus on the numbers to demonstrate your logic. If you’re not sure of how to do this, you can work with independent asset maintenance experts to help you assess, predict, and document all proposed benefits, risks, and savings.

2. Educate senior leaders to build their ‘maintenance muscles’

More often than not, senior leaders don’t have a business improvement or maintenance background, so they have a limited understanding of how the function contributes to the bigger picture.

You don’t want to get into the ins and outs of detailed assets tactics. However, you do want to set the scene and explain how modern maintenance practices and strategies contribute to your organisation’s competitive advantage.

Take the Future of Maintenance or Maintenance 4.0, as it’s sometimes called. This type of work highlights the evolving role of the profession, and pivotal concepts such as asset criticality, predictive maintenance, and the future-focused role of technology (including artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and sensor-based condition monitoring, to name just a few).

This strategic work should start early. Build people’s interest and knowledge over time to bring your senior leaders on the journey. Creating informed advocates who genuinely understand the power of a strategic maintenance function will help you lock in much-needed project approvals and funding.

3. Set your change strategy around the people

McKinsey and Company state that seventy percent of all maintenance transformations fail due to employee resistance and lack of change leadership and behaviours.

Show senior leaders that you understand the business risks and have thought through the impact of your proposed changes on the organisation’s people from start to finish.

Be ready with innovative solutions, such as working with partners to fast-track your results. Consider using specialist resources who can contribute real-world experiences, upskill your team, and transfer knowledge quickly and seamlessly.

Where possible, identify the benefits for those impacted by the change. Speak to their circumstances, also known as WIIFM (what’s in it for me).

Let your leaders know you’ll need their help, and ask executives to openly model and support the change you seek.

4. Use evidence and data to create a compelling story

Telling stories is one of the most powerful ways to influence, teach and inspire others. Stories unite people, are memorable, create a sense of shared connection, and build trust.

Don’t just communicate the numbers at face value when creating your presentation or report. Showcase what the data and insights tell you, the context surrounding them, and any associated actions. Use visual representations, such as charts, graphs, diagrams, pictures and even videos, to communicate your thinking.

Collect and leverage data and insights from other teams to help you create a strong argument, such as your business improvement team, finance, and engineering departments.

Think about what your audience will value most from your communications. Senior leaders respond well to areas of value creation, including reducing risks, lowering operating costs, and growing the business.

Consider how you can set a strong vision and roadmap for success that everyone can embrace and rally behind.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to gain secure buy-in from your senior leadership team for your next maintenance program or initiative, please contact the Minset team for more information.