John Fortin, CMRP, CRL is Sustainability Manager at Salem Beverly Water Supply Board in Massachusetts and author of the book “Why Execution Fails and What To Do About It”. Mike Petrusky recently hosted a live broadcast with John where they took “A Deeper Dive” into the book, exploring “The ART of Executive Sponsorship” framework to drive change efforts. John offered “how to” examples to help dramatically improve change success rates for asset management and reliability practitioners. Listen to this super-sized edition of the podcast to hear all about it!

Full Podcast Transcript

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Mike: This is the Asset Champion Podcast, where we talk with facilities maintenance and asset management leaders, about the industry trends and technologies impacting your organization. This show is powered by the iOFFICE Asset Division. Delivering easy-to-use maintenance management software tools, to help you drive powerful asset performance. 

Mike: Hey everybody, and welcome to Asset Champion live. And I’m so excited to welcome a great guest from up in New England, just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Everybody, please say hello to John Fortin. Hey John. 

John: Hey Mike. Thanks for having me today. 

Mike: Is it getting hot up there in New England? 

John: Oh yes. It’s nearly 100 degrees here. I got both air conditioners running in this room here. It’s still a little warm. So, if you see sweat pouring off me, you’ll know it’s the 100-degree weather getting to us here. But we got plenty of water. I’m looking out at our beautiful lake, that’s our main reservoir here. So, there’s plenty of water right out there. I have to jump in. 

Mike: Okay yeah. We’re going to talk about that. Your new role, and some of the things you’re doing at a water utility. But let me introduce the webinar, for those of you joining us today. You came because you saw that I was going to be talking to John. He’s the author of a book called, Why Execution Fails and What to Do About It. And we’re going to take a deeper dive into that book, and some of the concepts that John talked about last time. John, I’m so excited to hear more about your story. Because when you were on the show last fall, and you were a consultant with Jacobs for many years. And then what happened? Here we are, together again, six, eight months later. And your job has changed. You are now the sustainability manager at Salem at Beverly Water Supply Board. Tell us about it. 

John: Yeah, Mike. Great. Thanks so much. So just a quick snippet. So, I was at Jacobs for 10 years. Previously it was CH2M Hill and Jacobs bought us about three, four years ago. And we grew to a 55,000 person…basically, engineering company. And I was in a group of management consultants, that was called strategic consulting. 

 It was a couple thousand of us. And I was the global leader for asset management reliability for the company. And what that meant, was not only did I do consulting… But we have offices all over the world. And in the areas of asset management, maintenance, best practices, my job was to connect those people in the company. We brought the best advice, and tools, and what not to all of our customers around the globe. So been doing that for 10 years. But for the last year, it was like everyone else. I was sitting at home at my office, and it was really slow.  

Work was slow. And I’m talking to an old friend of mine, who had retired and took over as the Executive Director at this water utility that I’m at right here today. And he says,” Geez, Johnny.” He says,” We’ll use a guy like you. We got a lot to do here. It’s your own business, your own company. It’s only 17 employees.” So, we talked about it many, many times. I talked to my wife. And she says,” You know what? This sounds like a great way to go sharpen the saw again.” I spent a bunch of years at Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, where I learned a lot of items that are actually in the book. And that’s why the book got written 

. It was based on all those experiences and having been out of that field. Having been not the owner for many years, you lose a lot. So, there’s an opportunity to jump back in, and really get caught up to speed on what the world is like, being an owner. Back in the water industry, it’s a great place to be. So, I’ve been here since February. Really enjoying it. And sustainability… I’ve got the longest job title. Four pages. Basically, every other duty as assigned. Again, there’s only 17 of us here running it. So, as you can imagine, it’s a lot to do for everybody. So, it’s just been fantastic. We’ll talk a little bit more about that during the conversation today. 

Mike: Awesome. Absolutely. The excitement around being able to put those consulting strategies, the things you’ve written about in your book, and all the things that you’ve been working with clients on over these past 10 years, now you get to be a practitioner again. And really see how things work. So, I’m very excited to hear more about your new adventure there in Salem. But John, before we dive into your book, we have to get everyone inspired. And change is a big topic. It’s a challenging topic. We’ve been through a lot, through the pandemic. You’ve changed careers.  

I’ve been through many different changes, and I’m adapting pretty well. But I’m always challenged. And I think we all are. Anybody on this broadcast would relate to that. So this is a marketing consultant and author named Seth Godin. I often quote him on my podcast, because he talks a lot about human beings, and change, and some of the challenges that we all face. And here’s a quote from Seth. He says, “Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” What do you make of this quote, John? 

John: When I got involved with this stuff, especially in the asset management space, it’s change early and often. Right out of the gate. That’s what he’s saying in the first sentences. If you make change a part of any project you’re doing, it will never fail. If you wait, and delay, and the communication isn’t out there, and things around changes isn’t happening, it’s too late. So, in today’s changing world, we’ve seen what’s happened with COVID and everything. Look what’s changed, and people that adopted really quickly. Right? 

 Those restaurants and owners adopted really quickly. They’re doing fantastic. Some made some bad mistakes. Some delayed. In those, they suffered. Whether it be the automotive industry, or different industries. And so, it’s really just being nimble, and being aware of your surroundings, business, et cetera. Look at the best practice. I really like… We talk about it. Training and education around best practices in the space of asset management. We do that here where I am now. We’ve got all the guys and gals trained up on terminology and best practices. And we’re at it since day one. Ask the question,” Why is that like that?” Well, it’s always been like that. Well, no. That doesn’t look like best practice to us. So, it’s a great quote. It really is a good quote. 

Mike: Yeah. It reminds me to be proactive. You’re going to make mistakes. We’re all going to do that. But try things. Be willing to take that risk. Fail quickly and get back up and keep moving. So that’s what the theme of this time together is going to be all about. As we take a deeper dive into John’s book, “Why Execution Fails and What to Do with It.” John, let’s start out by talking a little bit about your website, and where people can find the book. And of course, why you wrote it. You’ve got this poster you want to talk about, and people can get a copy of this for free. Right? So, tell us a little bit about it. 

John: Yeah. Great. So the little saying here, that how became a change manager, is from an old client of mine. We thought he was taking the job as an asset manager, or a maintenance manager. And all of a sudden he’s in a… The whole thing was about change management. So, I sort of stole this quote from him. That’s what we have in the banner there. But yeah. So, the book. The first edition of the book came out in 2016. I was inspired by Terry O’Hanlon, who is the CEO of Reliabilityweb. One of our projects won a couple awards from Terry. And Terry said, “I see what these guys… Who are you? And what’s your deal?” And I said, “Well, I’m John Fortin. I was a change guy.” And he walked up to me. He said, “I need a book from you. We don’t have any books on that stuff.” So, he was very instrumental. I published that in 2016. And then 2018, I did a second edition. That covered the part about the art of executive sponsorship, which we can talk about a bit later, Mike. 

Mike: Excellent. I had Terry on my podcast, not too long ago. Go check that out, folks. It was a two- part conversation. Amazing insight from an incredible leader in our industry of reliability and asset management. And if you want to get a copy of John’s book, here’s the way to do it. Go to the website you see on the screen. And you’ll be able to read all about the details of the book, and John’s story. But if you dive a little deeper into the book summary tab, and then scroll down, there’s a free poster called, Success Elements for Sustainable Change. Now John, let’s spend a little time on this slide. Give me your reason for putting this together. You’re giving it away for free. Why do that? What does this help our audience doing their organization? 

John: Yeah. That’s a great question, Mike. So, if anybody’s familiar with Terry O’Hanlon and Reliabilityweb, they have quite a few posters. And Terry uses the periodic table, if you will, for his uptime elements. It’s not behind me today, but it’s right over there on a poster board. And so, he gives away some of these posters.  

I published a book in 2016, 2017, 2018. I’m presenting three, four times a year, on the book and the contents. I’m doing consulting and working. People are reading the book and asking questions. And right around 2019, I said,” I see the posters are super helpful. You can plug it up on the wall. It’s a quick read, versus having the book on a shelf.”  

I put pencil to paper. One of the posters Terry has looks somewhat like this. And so, I thought it was important to create something that could be free. So, you don’t have to buy the book. I mean, all the content is in the book, with all the details and all the stories. Case studies, and stuff like that. And there’s a bunch of appendices that are attached. Quick- start guides. I just thought this would be super helpful. It’s sort of… At a glance. Like one page at a glance.  

Why have it? One of the key things, is right above the circular Five Basic Elements is,” Studies indicate that 70% of initiatives fail.” I mean, there’s three or four books. There’s a Harvard Business Review. There’s all kinds of duct tape. Terry did his own study. And it’s just sad. I think of the millions and billions of dollars. If you went around the world, and thought about all these projects that get started, and never got completed. It’s a lot of money. And I personally… In my life, with some of my clients, it’s probably a billion dollars’ worth of projects, I know, that got stalled for some reason or another. Right? crosstalk It’s amazing. So, I thought that this would be a great way to convey.  

There are basically 15 elements that roll underneath those five basic elements, and you can read them there. And this was just a cheat sheet for people that could… If you wanted it, you could print it out. I have it. I have an’8 x’11 crosstalk on my office. 

Mike: Let me do something it for our audio- only listeners. The ones that are listening to this later. So, the Success Elements for Sustainable Change. And when I asked the question,” Why do we need success elements?” you said it right there.” Studies indicate 70% of initiatives fail.” And then you’ve got three phases of success on the left. Planning, Execution, PDCA. What is PDCA? 

John: So that’s the Plan, Do, Check, Act. So that’s the continuous improvement cycle we just talked about. One of the quotes previously is, “You’re going to fail.” So, you have to have this plan, do, check, act. It’s a continuous improvement cycle that’s known well around the world. So, planning of your project, executing it, but then just making sure you’re checking in on yourself, that it’s going well. There’s a lot of these change initiatives. In my case initiative, they take three, four, five years. So, leadership changes, people change, et cetera. So, you have to have that PDCA circle. You may have to restart, refresh a couple of times. 

Mike: Excellent. And of course, we want to begin with the end in mind. Right? So how do we define success? Achieving the desired vision. Return on investment, of course, and a win- win. Speak to that real quickly, John. 

John: Yeah. So in many of the projects, we always put together a vision statement. It’s one of the elements, right underneath executive sponsorship of common vision. So what is the vision? If you look to the bottom left there, under implementation plan, what’s the business case. So why are we doing this? What are we going to see? Is it financial? Is it safety? Is it efficiency? What is it?  

And it’s usually a combination of all of the above. And then win-win is really… It can’t be just for the boss. It’s got to be a win- win for the team. It’s a whole team- based approach. It’s common throughout my book. And so, I like to have that win- win in there. Because it’s a collective group effort, and it takes everybody in the team. Just like a baseball team. Everyone has got a position, and you need everybody to come to the game and play. So, I try to keep it simple for the folks. crosstalk A couple other things in there. But yeah. 

Mike: Speaking of baseball. How are your Red Sox doing this season? 

John: They’re doing pretty good. They got a lot of new people. I don’t even know all the names anymore. crosstalk I pulled up at the ballpark, to go to the crosstalk. My Varitek T- shirt. He was the old captain. He’s been gone for years. But I dug up my summer clothes. I had my Varitek. He was great, because he was a captain. We’re doing good. Bruins, not so good. They lost in the playoffs. But they gave it a good run. 

Mike: Excellent. Excellent. Well, my Washington Nationals are on the rise, doing well again. inaudible The New York Mets were just outside of first place by three games. So I’m excited about that. But the main piece of this poster, and the main topic I want you to share just a bit about, are these five basic elements to sustainable change. Implementation Plan, Executive Sponsorship, Training and Certification, Communication and Change management, Progress and Benefits Tracking. And there’s obviously 15 total, if you dive deeper under each of these. But speak to this process, and maybe do it in a way that we can all relate to. When you came to your new job at the Salem Water Authority, you said you had to go through some of this. Right? 

John: Yeah. No, it’s great, Mike. It was really a chance to sort of refresh. There’s no particular order here, except that you need to have an executive sponsor. Someone that believes in where you’re going, to set a vision. And needs a guidance. You need to have a steering committee. And to guide you through that process, you need a roadmap. Right? And that’s on the left- hand side. You have to have… Where are we going? 

 This vision is a place to get to. It’s a project to get you there. And I tell people,” Think of it like a capital construction project.” You got a scope, a schedule, a budget, and you’ve got a multi- person team. And that’s how you’ve got to deal with you. If you want to implement, in my case, sustainable sustainability, best practices. So, you need a roadmap. How are you going to get there? And we’re looking at what are the best practices out there. So to set the center there. 

 Best practices, topical experts. We’ve got a guy here today. He’s downstairs. He’s a lubrication expert. He’s doing a survey of all the equipment with my guys. Credentialing is… They’ve got tests you can take. The CRL. The SMRP has the certified reliability practitioner. There are some other ones out there. But there’s formal credentialing out there available. I think it helps with people creating a common language. If you’re all talking the same language, having some credentialing around that is helpful. A communications plan. You’re telling people what you’re doing. Within three weeks, we got a brand new 55- inch flat screen TV up on the front welcome area. And we put our vision statement up there.  

Our roadmap. We’ve got a bunch of stuff on there. I’ve always wanted to do that. My boss was like,” Get on it.” That’s part of the communication and change. Cross- functional teams. We’ve got a small group here. But one of our first committees coming out of the gate, is a safety committee. So, the cross- functional team means you need somebody from operations, somebody from maintenance, somebody from the lab, and somebody from the administration staff. So, there’s representation from across the board there. Process updates. You’re going through change. You’re actually changing your SOPs. Right?  

Your standard operating procedures. That’s what that means. And we have a lot of that to be done here. Part of the big gig here, was it just needed to be modernized. Not only the physical asset, but the SLPs are outdated. O and M manuals are outdated. And so my job here, is to work with staff, and update all those procedures. 

 That third bullet on the Communication and Change Management. And then Progress and Benefits Tracking. As you said, you were going to go somewhere. Who’s monitoring the project? Right? Who’s in charge? If it fails, who’s in charge of saying when to stop? When to goes slow, when to go fast. That’s the project manager. So, in this case, it’s me. I’m the guy who’s putting together the roadmap. I’ve got a master schedule. It’s right below that. You probably can’t see that. But it’s a very simple Excel table, with all my tasks on there for the next 18 months. And then benefits capture.  

So, what are we seeing for benefits? Because the people that are investing in what we’re doing, they want to see what changes happening. Is it better, or is it worse? And the big thing for us, has been really safety, initially. Part of my role in sustainability is not only asset management and maintenance, but also safety and energy. And just getting confined space entry program put together. The guys were wanting to go into these confined space tanks. We’ve got them all the gear, and we got them trained up.  

They’re in there quite a bit now. We found some things with problems in the tanks. So maintenance issues that could have shut down the plant. We haven’t been going in. We caught that early, and so we avoided a catastrophic failure. So that’s Benefits Capture. It could be financial. It could be morale. It could be efficiency.  

Like I said before, usually it’s a combination of all those. So I think these… In no particular order, these 15 things… It’s almost like the checklist to make it work. It’s any sort of change. But in the realm of… The book is written in my experiences around putting together an asset management program, maintenance best practices program, et cetera. Stuff like that. 

Mike: Well, let’s take a little bit of a deeper dive into some of these concepts. As we promised here today. I want to focus in on the second from the left there. Executive Sponsorship. So John, you talked about this on episode 22 of the Asset Champion Podcast back last fall. You just brushed through it really quickly, but I want to hear the full story of how executive sponsorship plays such a big role in change management. And it was the reason you came up with a whole new chapter in the second edition of your book. So, tell me a little bit more about what inspired that. There was a book by John Kotter you referenced. And then, there was an idea around change management, and how there are only so many things you can do at once. And executive sponsorship is a big key of that. So, give us the background. And then we’ll get into what you call,” The Art of Executive Sponsorship.” 

John: Yeah, that’s great. So, in the book, there’s a model for change. Is called Delta Force. It’s not on the poster, but it’s in the book. And those are the tips and tricks that are combined into this word called Delta Force. Delta is basically setting the project up, and Force is implementing it. So to find the problem or opportunity for D, envision the future…. We talked about envisioning, E. Lead by example. T for task management. A for active monitoring. That’s Delta force. 

 There’s little bits, and tips, and tricks about how to do all those. Then Force is, follow- through, being organized, respect among team members, cultural awareness, and being entrepreneurial if change happens. So that’s Delta Force. But the L, or leadership, is sort of where… What happened was, in between reading those books on John Kotter, and the 4 Disciplines of Execution, by Sean Covey and others. I published a book in 2016, and I called my conferences. I was with clients who have helped me with the book. When I wrote the book, they would review it. And a couple of my clients said,” We’re executive sponsors now. John, you met us a couple of years ago, when you were consulting.  

Now we’ve actually loaded. We’re the executive sponsors.” They said,” In your book, you just talk about leadership. It just lightly touches on executive sponsorship. What do you recommend?” The conference was in December. I come out of the conference. I spent my Christmas holiday time off, and I wrote a little white paper. I did some research. First of all, there’s nothing really out there about executive sponsorship. So I wrote a little white paper about it. And I called it, The Art of Executive Sponsorship. I sent it to a couple of clients for their review, and they got double thumbs up.  

So it became chapter four in the second edition that was released in 2018. And so R, stands for the attributes, roles, and responsibilities of the executive sponsor. And there’s just some cheat sheet material in here about that. I talk about the life cycle of the executive sponsor. There’s probably some reflection there. There’s a life cycle of what to do, and it starts with getting your plan in place. So that starts with you owning, basically, that gap assessment. Or the roadmap to improvement. You own the business case. Right? We talked about those things in the poster. So somebody needs to own those. And the executive sponsor owns the business case. He owns the roadmap. He’s the guy that helps pick the teams, those cross- functional teams. He’s going to pick the project manager.  

In that lifecycle, I said, “This is what you’re supposed to do as the executive sponsor.” You don’t just say,” Go have at it guys. Good luck.” You’ve got to check in. There are team meetings. There’s a schedule, and you should be checking in. They need resources. They need experts. Like I told you, I’ve got a lubrication guy out here. My executive sponsor, Allen Talbert, he’s paying for that. He knows the benefit. I gave him the business case. And so that executive sponsorship. It just gave them, I guess, a way to act and respond. And then in the back of the book, I have a cheat sheet. 

 It’s called, the 360-degree review. And I put together 25 questions, to make sure you pick… Say it’s a multi- million dollar, or a big project, and you want to get the right executive sponsor. That has the right skills. I put a little cheat sheet in the back of the book. And it says it’s a way for… You might identify three people that could be the executive sponsor. And then after a 360 review, you have four or five people. Sort of rank people on their skills. Right? And that will maybe help pick the right person for that. So I put up a couple of things in there, in that chapter around that. The expectations, what the attributes are of the person you’re going to pick, and a way to pick somebody. And so I think it’s been really helpful for folks, to really understand that you have a role. There’s things you’ve got to do. Much of say, in that you’re the executive sponsor. 

Mike: I’m coming back. I’m coming back, John. You lost me there for a second, but I am almost back. I just kind of froze for a second. But that T, in The Art of Executive Sponsorship. Did you address the top five modes of success? 

John: Yep. So the modes… So again, I like to use words, and create things like art. M is, managed cross- functional alignment. What that means, is many organizations have multiple activities going on at the executive level. So every department typically has their own pet projects for the year. Right? And they’re typically for their department only, and not for the whole organization necessarily. And they don’t cross each functional groups.  

What that means, is for them to be… He or she needs to coordinate across those groups. And make sure that if this is a top priority project for the company, that you get their support. Because there’s going to be probably 10, or 15, or 20 other little projects happening throughout the year. And that’s why I love that book by Covey, the 4 Disciplines of Execution. Because they say in the book, “You can only do four things well in a year.” And every single organization I’ve gone to has 44 things going on. And so that’s why most success… I put at managed cross- functional alignment. To make sure that, if in fact, it is one of those four. Or a very important one, that everyone is held accountable at the leadership team meetings. That if John Fortin is one of those people that has one of those projects, that I’m getting some attention, and I’m getting some priority. O. I mentioned ownership of the business case. Direction of leadership. I talk about chartering teams.  

A formal one-page document, that says the scope of what we’re doing. Like I said, I mentioned safety. The scope of the safety committee has a charter. You’re going to establish a health and safety program. Here are the people on it. Here are the expected benefits. Here’s the short plan. D, is direction and ownership of that. Of every charter that’s out there. Being a visible sponsor. Not just saying,” Oh, it’s great. It’s over here on a book.” But meaning if the team is meeting monthly, you show up every once a quarter, for example. E, in modes, is encouragement and resourcing. We talked about motivating people and providing experts to come in to help.  

And then, S is sustainment and mismanagement. So you really own… I call it the execution readiness review. So in many cases, I’ve seen a change fail outside of the gate. And we’ll go back to one of the quotes that was mentioned earlier. It can fail out of the gate. So I actually have a readiness- to- execute survey. It’s in the back of the book here. It’s another 25 questions, that have been proven to… If you can get these 25 things, I give you a scale one to 10.  

We give it to the governing committee. So, you’ve got an executive sponsor. You’ve got a steering committee of executives, and you can have little pods of teams working on projects. So, as you can understand, for a means reliability project, that could be a computerized maintenance management program. You’re buying a new one. That’s one team. You might have a lubrication program. You’d be bringing in predictive technologies. So, there’s three teams right there. And so, you go on and on. And so, making sure that they’re engaged on these teams, and supporting the folks from the top all the way down. And so, it’s important, I think, in that chapter. In the back of the book.  

That readiness-to-execute survey. I have that steering committee rank themselves one to 10. And you hope the average is a five and above. And if it’s not, I give answers in the book of what to do. To improve that and take it up. And then in the new book in 2018… So that was before you get started, that readiness- to- execute is before you even launch. Then I created one, which is called, The Sustainment Review. So, you’re already in the program a year. You said you were going to do all these good things. Like sponsor, like train, like bringing in experts. I created another 25-question survey, that this steering committee can actually check against how they’re doing on the road to change. So, I thought that would be helpful too. Because the original book only had the initial state. So, the new book has a bunch of new things in there, that I thought that folks were asking for. 

Mike: Wow, such great stuff. So detailed. So organized and systematic in your approach. I’m sure the book would be very valuable to anyone watching us today. So, we’re not going to give it all away for free, folks. Go to and get a hold of your copy. But John… I want to give you a chance, folks, to ask your questions. But one more question for you, John, as far as a takeaway for this webinar. What practical advice can you give the audience here, when it comes to either initiating a change program, or just managing the complexity of the world in which we’re living right now? 

John: Yeah. Great question. You might notice behind me. Practice what you preach. So, there’s a logo. There’s a mission statement, a vision statement, and a value statement. And when I got here, I said to the new boss,” Where’s the logo?” He said,” We don’t have one.” I said, “What’s the vision statement?”” We don’t have one.” What’s the mission statement? That was written in 1935. And it’s,” To deliver potable water for firefighting, sanitation and drinking water.” I said,” Well, that’s inspiring.” What about the value statement? They were a professional organization. We’re looking to raise money.  

So, I mentioned to the sustainability manager, this facility is 85 years old. It’s very tired, and we need to raise money to refurbish it. To modernize it. So, we’re going to be going to local state representatives, governors, mayors, looking for money. And we want to go there looking very professional. So, one of the first things I did, as part of our change program, is I actually built that logo. And that’s one of our main water sources, coming in the Wenham Canal. And I brought together some sample mission statements, vision statements, and value statements. And there’s three of us here in the leadership position. And we sat in this very room for a day, and we went through. We recrafted mission, vision, and value statements. We then took those with… I talked about having a plan. I call it, Swim Races. 

 It’s my little five-year plan. And Races stands for reliability, asset management, capital renewal, energy, and safety. Within the first month of me being here, we took these to staff. Because it’s the first ever sustainability position. They didn’t even know what it meant. And I said,” Well, that’s what it is right here.” Basically, it’s asset management with a couple of bolt-ons. We bought the logo. We bought six copies of the logo. Six different copies. What the mission, vision, value statements. And we had staff for two hours. We gave it to advance. We had them to go through it and ask a bunch of questions. 

 So, it was an early- on communication. What changes? You got to get out there to communicate. What are we doing differently? And we showed them on the wall. There’s four of these posters around. It’s the Terry O’Hanlon uptime elements poster. We said,” We’re bringing best practice to this organization.” And so, we jumped. Jacobs had a 12-week training program for internal Jacobs staff, around Ramesh Gulati’s book, “Maintenance and Reliability Best Practices.” It’s a great book. I’ve got a copy.  

Mike: Another past guest on the show. 

John: Everyone should have that book. I’ve got a signed copy. You can’t have mine. But they went through 12 weeks of listening to the Jacobs experts talk about all these terms. I bought them the uptime elements books. We got all the posters. They had to learn a new language. 

 So, what I’m saying, is setting the vision, which is on the poster. Executive sponsorship, the three of us sitting there in the room. Executive director, deputy director, me as sustainability manager. We brought them training. Right? They’re not credentialed yet, but we got them familiar with the language. I’ve only been here three months. I’m going on my fourth month. We’ve already had a CMS expert come in. A liability expert, a lubrication expert. Because they were never taught, some of the guys here. It was an old leadership culture around dues. You’re told,” Don’t ask any questions.” And my new boss had only been there nine months. He asked the guys, “What you guys want to do?” And they were like, “Well, wait a minute.” Two different bookends of leadership style. I tried to figure out how to fit with that leadership style. So, we just brought them the training, so they can be educated on the terminology. So, they can ask a question around what that means.  

And so, the advice I would give when you’re starting, is make sure you’ve got that leadership team all aligned. I would say myself, Allen… And the other guy’s name is Brad. We are super aligned on this. And that’s why I joined the company. I saw the potential as a consultant before I would take on a job. I would actually interview the executive team before I took on the consulting project. I would maybe manage the change. And if I saw that alignment, I would sign up for that assignment. But if I didn’t see the alignment, I might give it to somebody else on the team to do basic things. crosstalk Mission, vision, values, and a roadmap, and some training. Next one’s coming up, is… Now that we’re out of COVID, I would say, “Get your staff to Uptime.” Reliabilityweb is having their conferences. Some of them were held virtually. I’ll be at the International Maintenance Conference in Florida in December. 

 They’ve got another one in August. crosstalk So get your folks out. Buy them the books, if you can’t get them the training. Get them signed up to these webinars, Mike, that you’re doing. Right? And the podcast you’re going to promote afterwards. They’re great. 20-minute, 30-minute segments. And so, there’s really free stuff… You can go on and Uptime Elements website. Free. It’s a free bunch of stuff there. crosstalk 

Mike: Great resources. Yeah., if you’re not familiar with it, folks. Great advice, John. Practical stuff. Really good. And John, I have to revisit our previous conversation, where we talked about music, and this band. I love music. I love the 80s. And you and I hit on the same theme, when you said your favorite band from that era. And just even today, to get you inspired, is who? Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. Altogether, they’re known as… 

John: U2, baby. 

Mike: U2, baby. So listen. We talked about some of the early stuff. New Year’s Day, and I Will Follow. But we didn’t mention this album. We got to visit it really quickly. What’s your favorite song from 1987, The Joshua Tree? And there’s the song listing there. 

John: I love them all. I think, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Or, “When the Streets Have No Name” is a great one. So, I told you guys about when I went to Guatemala. Right? With those high school kids. And I had a journal. The journal with foreign language. I’m sitting on the corner of the street. And I’m on a stoop of someone’s house, and I’m taking notes. And I’m about to write. I’m on the corner of what-and-what streets. Right? I look up. I’m in the middle of the mountains in Guatemala. There are no street names with street signs, like there are in the city. The streets have no name. I wrote that in my journal. I’m like, “Woo!” 

Mike: Awesome. 

John: Yeah. This is Joshua Tree. We went to see The Joshua Tree. We saw them in concert a couple of years ago, right here in Foxborough. 

Mike: Yeah. 30th anniversary. 

John: Yeah. I love the best of the 1980- 1990 album. That’s got a bunch of really good ones. Of course, War and The Joshua Tree are my favorites. My daughter bought me… Actually, I have The Joshua Tree in vinyl. My daughter bought it for me. We bought a little record player, and she bought me the vinyl Joshua Tree. 

Mike: Well, listen. I’ve been doing these Asset Management Podcasts now for about a year, and I am a newbie to this area. It’s all new to me. I’m learning a lot as I go. Speaking to incredible experts like you, John. But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. Yeah. All right. I knew I can tie in a song with this conversation. crosstalk I didn’t put you on the spot. I didn’t want to make you do it. John, thank you so much for being on the show today. 

John: Thank you, Mike. And thank you to everybody else. May the Delta force be with you. 

Mike: I love it. I love it. Any Star Wars reference goes right along with the U2 references, John. That’s fantastic. And thank you all for joining us today. I hope in some small way, we encouraged you to be an asset champion. Peace out, everybody. 

Mike: You’ve been listening to the Asset Champion podcast. We hope you found this discussion beneficial, as we work together to elevate asset management success. By improving efficiency, reducing costs, and building best practices. For more information about how the iOFFICE Asset Division can boost the performance of your physical assets, by providing comprehensive enterprise asset management software solutions, please visit 

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