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Stop Making New Year’s Resolutions and Start Scheduling New Levels of Reliability Performance

CRL Black Belt Program

This is the time of the year many pundits, semi-retired consultants, authors, and many others with absolutely no skin in the game make predictions for the coming New Year. They also prod you to start your new RCM or Predictive Maintenance program or make some other kind of to-do list that highly likely to fail quickly after it starts if it starts at all.

Of course, if RCM or PdM is in your future, I fully support it, but I also want to let you know the odds are against you with 1 out of 9 able to make permanent changes in maintenance programs.

So, what is a Reliability Leader who wants to create change to do?

The distinctions of work

The first thing to get your mind around are the three distinctions of the kinds of work we do.

  1. Trivial work – Unimportant work that does not move us or our organization toward our objectives. This work could take up 2-5% of our time and attention.
  2. Important work – Work that is required of us. The non-optional work our boss demands. We know it is important because it is what we get paid for. This work usually takes at least 95% of our time and attention.
  3. Work that makes a difference – this is the work that moves us toward our objectives or goals. Imagine if we replaced the 2-5% of trivial work with work that made a difference.

How do we get to work that makes a difference?

In the Certified Reliability Leader workshop, we use a focused project method called a 3-month orbit, however author John Fortin offers an excellent focused project method in his book, “Why Execution Fails and What to Do About It” (2nd Edition) as well.
Both methods share aligning personal values, mission and vision (your reasons why) with the organizations aim and objectives to create a line-of-sight from the emotional or limbic side of the brain with the logical neo cortex side of the brain to form a powerful drive with both fuel and horsepower.

Each method uses three-months rather an annual time horizon to make the scope more bite size, as well as to make project failure more recoverable as you have four periods to accomplish during the course of a year.

Formalizing your project scheduling by using Uptime Elements Domain Master Belts

Over the course of your career in reliability, you will likely be doing a numerous series of focused Improvement projects over time. Because of the two-to-three-year benefit delay that often occurs, these accomplishments can often go unacknowledged.
Uptime Elements is a reliability framework for generating improved asset performance while amplifying a sustainable reliability culture based on integrity and leadership. The Certified Reliability Leader designation offered by the Association of Asset Management Professionals (AMP) demonstrates that you are confident and competent in expressing Uptime Elements - A Reliability Framework and Asset Management System. As a CRL you have access to the CRL Domain Mastery Belt project framework.

CRL Black Belt Interview: Marie Getsug from Reliability on Vimeo.

CRL Domain Mastery Belt projects enable triple bottom-line outcomes of improving reliability and asset performance. You can earn an Uptime Elements Domain Mastery Belt by generating “significant” outcomes. Significant outcomes differ from organization to organization. Not every significant outcome translates to purely economic factors. Almost any project that generates change that supports people in a verified performance improvement trend toward reliability is “significant” in our opinion. My suggestion is to discuss your CRL Domain Mastery Belt project with a subject matter expert (SME) related to the project you are attempting who is also a Certified Reliability Leader.

The goal of each successful CRL Domain Mastery Belt Program is to generate significant advance in reliability and asset performance. For example, over 3 years, multiple CRL Domain Mastery Belt projects with a defect elimination focus eliminated 54% of defects and 73% of defects over 6 years.

A CRL Domain Mastery Belt project is one that uses appropriate strategies and tactics from the Uptime Elements Reliability Framework approach to generate breakthrough performance created by a sustainable reliability culture and delivers a real triple bottom-line benefit aligned to organizational objectives.

Reliability tools tend to be generic and rarely generate sustainable business success on their own. It is the ability to engage and empower cross-functional teams of reliability leaders who work aligned to the AIM of the organization that distinguish a CRL Domain Mastery Belt Project from other improvement projects.

Economic impact, environmental impact and social/cultural impact as outcomes are also a requirement within a CRL Domain Mastery Belt project when compared to other “improvement” projects that focus solely on economic return on investment.
Certified Reliability Leaders that accomplish 5 Domain Mastery Belts over a 36 month period earn a personalized embroidered CRL Black Belt, publicly awarded at the International Maintenance Conference annually.


Replace your to-do list and your New Year’s resolutions with a declaration and schedule to complete one or more Uptime Elements Domain Mastery Belts and get the career acknowledgement that reliability accomplishments deserve.

Learn more about the CRL Black Belt Program at the Association of Asset Management Professionals

CRL Black Belts are awarded publicly at IMCCRL Black Belts are awarded publicly at IMC

Current CRL Black Belts at IMC-2021Current CRL Black Belts at IMC-2021

Terrence O'Hanlon

Terrence O’Hanlon, CMRP, and CEO  of® and Publisher for Uptime® Magazine, is an asset management leader, specializing in reliability and operational excellence. He is a popular keynote presenter and is the coauthor of the book, 10 Rights of Asset Management: Achieve Reliability, Asset Performance and Operational Excellence.

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