Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Maintenance, risk reduction and quiet achievers

This time of year is great for fixing lots of little pain in the ass jobs around the house.

Here I put a bracket onto a copper riser that has been loose for ten years. If somebody tripped over a hose we'd have a fountain I couldn't stop and it'd be a call to a plumber or helpful family member with the tools.

Ten years of luck shouldn't be stretched too much further. And it reminds me if the role of maintenance, and how it's undervalued. As Walt Kowalski said in Gran Torino "I once fixed a door before it was broken. A maintenance service guy I worked with at Cryovac lamented how the old maintenance guys in a meat production plant could be so easily overlooked. "the guy who walks around with a spanner, tightens a belt on a conveyor, averts the problem. He's never rewarded."

In fact, many systems seem to reward those who allow a problem to arise and then play the champ. Another (young and good) maintenance guy in a meat plant was a master of the breakdown rescue. "Help, help, the X machine has stopped and I have 300 guys standing around doing nothing". And the young guy would revel in it - made sure everyone knew he was in before the problem got fixed.

I suppose a system gets more of what it rewards. So if one chooses to be a quiet achiever then maybe recognise it's not the way that many systems work.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


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