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“Can you recommend some effective ways to help break bad habits regarding lubrication and maintenance, as well as how to establish good habits?”
For this type of culture change, it will be essential to first identify why the poor habits were developed and sustained. At some point, there was a lack of proper instruction on best practices, and the personal experience of the team was considered the most valuable asset for learning and performing lubrication tasks. In these situations, knowledge is often accrued on a trial-and-error basis.
While field experience can be beneficial for a lubrication program, learning by experience without the proper technical support to justify that a certain practice actually is the best way to complete a task may result in wrong concepts being created and accepted. Over time, these bad habits become the rules to follow for both older and newer members of the team.
Keep in mind that a review of your current practices may produce a culture shock, since your team is likely to discover that what they believe is correct and working well may not be true. It can be difficult to accept when activities that have been accepted for a long period of time are now no longer valid. This realization may cause the team to feel as if they are out of their comfort zone.
To help break bad habits and establish good ones, you must communicate the new ideas to the team in a respectful way while showing what the benefits will be for both the program and the team, such as less urgent work and rework. It also will be critical to recognize past work so the team feels appreciated for their sense of responsibility and will want to use the correct practices.
Once the initiative has been communicated, provide formal training on the best practices, create new procedures and routes, and offer tools to support the new standards. This will require close supervision during the first few weeks to show that these changes will be monitored and that leadership is willing to provide support.
Finally, there must be some type of accountability and metrics to demonstrate the success of the new practices. The results of the metrics and the implementation should be communicated to the organization in a positive way that motivates and reinforces the new habits. Support from top management and not just middle management will be crucial during this process.