In the post “How To Engage Governing Bodies in Your Infrastructure Asset Management Program”, Ross said that he has three tips to begin with.
Ross’ first advice is to “Communicate with them and keep communicating” with governing bodies.
His next tip is “Don’t be bogged down by technical details.”
Now the second thing is as industry professionals we love to get into detail. Because we know what we’re about. We have all these acronyms and we have all these codes we talk in.
And we sometimes talking really quite detail technical stuff because we understand it. Now the governance people will not understand that level of technical detail.
Some years ago, we have our regulator for our water utilities in New Zealand is the government appointed Auditor-General. They audit all the public Federal government books as well, as well as all of the utilities.
The guy who was the Auditor-General had been around for a long time. And he’s a pretty wise guy. We produced, we have this mandated production of asset plans and long-term financial plans associated and expenditure.
He read all these or his staff read all these. He came back after with a really insightful statement.
He said, you know you guys have done really really great technical detail but it’s too technical. He said you lost sight of the big picture debate in the technical detail.
So he challenged our industry, the utilities industry and the municipal government industry to have the ‘Right Debate’.
So what he was really saying was, once you’ve gone through the technical detail, you have to pick 1, 2, 3 big picture, 1 or 2-sentenced items that say, this is what are the problem is or this is what we need to fix, what is it?
And you think, “Oh that would be easy.” It’s a lot, lot harder than you think because lots of these issues are multi-layered and quite complex.
But if you can come up to a level of your governance and have a very, this is what we got, this problem, for example, all our tanks will be falling to bits in the next five years is our problem and we need $50 million to fix it or whatever the figure is. And it’s a simple as that.
Then the governance going to ask you, are you sure? You then are going to talk about risks, and condition assessment and the legal requirements and things like that.
Once you had that sort of discussion, they’ve got a very clear idea about what they’re talking about.
I think it’s very easy for technical professionals to bog down in detail because that’s what we deal on every single day.
Read the two more answers that Ross shared by clicking on the links below:
- Communicate with them and keep communicating
- Take time to communicate and build consensus in your community
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