BREAKING DOWN SILOS: “If asset management for sustainable service delivery is so simple and logical, why are we not getting it?” asks Wally Wells, Executive Director, Asset Management BC (July 2019)
Note to Reader:
An article in the Summer 2019 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter elaborates on challenges that the co-authors identified in their previous Op-Ed, published in the September 2017 Newsletter. Thoughts are by the ‘old guys’, Wally Wells, Asset Management BC and Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability, and the ‘young guy’, Cory Sivell, YourCity.
Asset management for sustainable service delivery and water sustainability, they wrote, are both top priorities for local governments. But the primary challenge is ‘integration’ and getting every discipline or department within an organization to recognize the contributions of the others plus get the organization working together on a common path. Another major challenge is communicating and understanding the message. The work environment is changing with time as are the methods of communicating and the form of the messages.
BC is progressing. Yet, persistent challenges for practitioners to adopt, change or evolve standards of practice means there is still a substantive disconnect between UNDERSTANDING (i.e. knowing what to do) and IMPLEMENTATION (i.e. doing it). This disconnect provides the backdrop for the Summer 2019 version of the article which is updated to reflect a change in context, namely the current climate emergency. Extracts from the updated article are presented below to whet the reader’s interest to learn more.
No Longer Do We Have the Luxury of Doing Nothing
So, if ‘asset management for sustainable service delivery’ is so simple and logical, why are we not getting it? Words like ‘collaboration’ and ‘integration’ are being tossed around loosely and we all buy into them…or do we?
Now that British Columbia is in Year 5 of our ‘new reality’ of a ‘climate emergency’, collaboration and integration of efforts have never been more fundamental to the long-term wellbeing of British Columbians. Given the urgency to start adapting to a changing climate now, not years from now, intergenerational ‘sharing and learning’ around a whole-system approach to asset management is a lynch-pin for concerted action.
No longer do we have the luxury of time to do nothing. Rather, time is of the essence. Yet turning around the practices that caused the climate emergency is not a sprint. It will take time and sustained commitment by everyone.
Will asset management professionals rise to the occasion so that sustainable service delivery actually leads to integrated solutions? DO, LEARN, ADAPT AND DO BETTER – this must be every professional’s mantra. The challenge for successive generations of practitioners is to hand off the baton to the next, without dropping it.
How Different Generations Communicate
The reality today is a very different work environment than what we ‘old guy’ grew up in. That leads to a required dialogue of what communicating really means and how the message is received and interpreted by different generations. Maybe, just maybe, we take too much for granted based on what we individually know in trying to communicate asset management.
So, if asset management is so simple, why are people not getting it. We need to think very hard about the way we carry the message with, we would suggest, more thought to the perception of the listener.
Perspective and Time
In 2019, the current climate emergency is the context for a call to action. Asset management for sustainable service delivery is a foundation piece for a more resilient British Columbia. So, what will you the reader do differently after reading and reflecting upon this ‘think piece’?
We close with a question to ponder.
The core message is that different generations have different perspectives because of the way they grew up which formed beliefs and thinking patterns. This message really brings to light that different audiences will resonate with different messages in different ways.
Good messaging is what provides an opportunity to change a perspective which in turn aspires action. So maybe the question is:
Are you considering your different audiences and ‘generational ways of thinking in your messaging process and content?’ If not, why not?
TO LEARN MORE:
Download Reflections of Intergenerational Learning, Or Not? to read the article co-authored by Kim Stephens, Wally Wells and Cory Sivell.