One of our customers who is thinking about setting up a RCM Blitz™ Facilitator training class asked me what makes someone a good RCM facilitator?  What type of experience should he/she have and what are some the qualities we should look for in selecting these people?

Thinking about the answer, an interesting thought came to mind. 

Are you really looking for someone to become a good facilitator or would you like them to be great?

When it comes to facilitating a process or event like Reliability Centered Maintenance, Root Cause Analysis, or any other group problem solving method, in my life thus far have met a hundreds of good facilitators and only a hand full of great ones.  If I were thinking about investing the money to train a RCM facilitator, I would want to train a great one.

So, what is the difference between a good facilitator and a great one? 

What type of background or experience should a great RCM Facilitator have?

What qualities should you look for in selecting a RCM facilitator?

The difference between good and great facilitators to me is as obvious as night and day.  Great facilitators have a skill that allows them to lead a team of people through a thorough RCM analysis in way that is non-threatening and believe it or not enjoyable.

While RCM can at times be a very painful process, great facilitators know how to keep the analysis on track; they stick to the process knowing where to their own insight, experience and humor.

Great facilitators understand the importance of staying true to the RCM process by asking the right questions in the right order so the RCM TEAM develops not only the list of failure modes for their asset but the resulting maintenance strategy intended to mitigate each failure.  In doing so the great RCM facilitator has assisted in delivering a product that this team will own.

Great facilitators have highly tuned listening skills.  They have learned over time not only the importance of asking the right questions but listening and often waiting for the team to discover what may have been clear to him/her for some time.  They understand the extreme importance of every ah-ha the team uncovers and have learned the art leading your team to each discovery instead of just pointing them out.

Great RCM Facilitators don’t tell RCM TEAMS what they should do, they instead when needed share their knowledge and experiences and allow the team to their own recommendations.  They understand that patience and sound leadership has a reward that is returned in increased pace, understanding of the RCM process and ownership of the end product.

Great RCM Facilitators seem to have the following background and experience:

  • The have worked in the trenches before as maintenance technicians, operators, lead or supervisory positions.  They know the pressures of day to day business and the relationship between equipment reliability and success.
  • They have a proven ability to lead a team through a structured process to solve problems
  • They have worked with or have a thorough understanding of PdM technologies
  • They have above average computer and typing skills
  • They have shown the ability to be a proven leader or instructor
  • In learning to instruct of facilitate they honed their skills from a wide variety of instructors/mentors

The Qualities of great RCM Facilitators:

  1. Patience
  2. Above average listening skills
  3. They value teaching over telling
  4. They understand different learning styles and try to use them all
  5. They recognize the strengths and abilities of each team member
  6. They lead by example through action and a positive attitude
  7. They share their knowledge and experience openly
  8. They have proven ability to set and achieve goals
  9. They are uniquely driven to continuously improve their own facilitation skills
  10. They have an above average and appropriate sense of humor

Well there you have it.  The same advice I have given to well over a hundred managers who were looking to train their employees as RCM Blitz™ Facilitators.  While we have been successful at training and mentoring hundreds of facilitators over the years, the difference between good and great starts with selection and is perfected through personal drive and experience.  In the end good facilitators have another skill to add to their resume, the great facilitators….they have found a new career!

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