Involve everyone in everything…
- Listen constantly, congregate, or share ideas/information, and recognize achievement
- Celebrate –informally and formally–the “small wins” that are indicative of the solid day-to-day performance turned in by more than 90 percent of your workforce.
Unprecedented information-sharing, interaction, and recognition are required to induce attitude change and horizontal communication necessary to foster widespread involvement and commitment.” (Tom Peters, Thriving on Chaos).
So what am I most proud of accomplishing this year? This year we achieved record levels of engagement across the organization. We did this by engaging folks in “listening environments.” That is to say, that beginning in January of 2014, we strategically organized our meetings so that we incorporated both structured and unstructured dialogue between the volunteer leaders and staff. These listening environments allowed us to be strategic—to emerge with a shared mission, a shared vision, and shared strategic goals. And as I mentioned last month in my recap of ISA FLM (The Gift—ISA 2014 FLM), we celebrated and recognized the achievements of ISA leaders both formally (at the Honors & Awards Gala) and informally at luncheons and during the meeting for their service and contributions to the Society.
But what about Staff—the people whose “solid day-to-day performance” allow the volunteers to be successful?
Quite frankly, when I was told that my final article should recap all of the accomplishments for 2014, I thought—well I just did that last month! Since this is my final article as President of ISA, I want to focus on the people who made those accomplishments possible—ISA Staff. Every member of Staff is a member of the 2014 Hall of Fame, irrespective of their specific role/responsibility, shares in our success, and receives a heartfelt “Thank You.” I also want to personally recognize a few “All Stars” who worked with me personally this year to achieve our goals:
- Colleen Casper – Colleen is the awesome designer behind the “Coolest Delivery” of the new InTech Plus mobile app. Because of her submission, InTech Plus received a Certificate of Excellence award in the 2014 American Graphic Design Awards competition. I relied on her so much to help select and/or design the graphics for each of my Insight articles. Thank you so much, Colleen, for sharing your gift of creativity with ISA.
- Susan Colwell – Susan is ISA publisher of the InTech+ Plus mobile app, InTech magazine, ISA books, and more. Susan’s willingness to listen to the case for mobile, to follow through on Adobe DPS, and to dedicate already stretched resources to create an award-winning iPad App ensured ISA’s place in the mobile automation space. Thank you, Susan, for your award-winning support of my coolest delivery and content goals this year!
- Debbie Eby – It’s virtually impossible to be an ISA leader and not know or have interacted with Debbie Eby. She is the “go-to” person—with all the institutional knowledge (i.e. where all the bodies are buried) for all things governance and structure and virtually all things ISA. It would have been impossible for me to maintain schedules, complete the various tasks, meetings, and communications required by the Society President without Debbie. Thank you, Debbie, for sharing all your knowledge and experience with me. I could not have done it without you!
- Tim Feldman – I have to admit that I had no idea what Tim Feldman did until I became Society President. He always seemed to be away from the office or engaged in marketing and sales activities. But just prior to the beginning of my term, I represented ISA at Miconex in China. It was during that visit that I began to grasp the full measure of Tim’s impact on ISA’s brand, reputation, and our ability to forge powerful business relationships around the globe. Thank you, Tim, for everything you continually do day by day to cultivate and develop business for ISA around the globe.
- Loretta Floyd – Loretta is a part of the president’s team of personal assistants. I am sure that’s not her only job, but she made me feel like she was always at my disposal. Whether it was making an airline or hotel reservation, choosing a personal gift, or helping to decide on the design of the APEX award, Loretta has been there to assist me. Thank you, Loretta, for graciously sharing your gift of service with me and the rest of ISA.
- Tony Fragnito – Tony, CFO of ISA, is new to our Society but you really would not know it because he hit the ground running, taking on the Society’s financials and the hugely important website project. Tony has been a quiet but steady force, working tirelessly with Assembly chairs and other volunteer leaders to realize their short-term and long-term goals. Thank you, Tony, for stepping up to the plate and bringing all your financial and IT background to bear on the issues and projects at ISA.
- Pat Gouhin – Pat, CEO and Executive Director, has been a true leader in every initiative our Society has accomplished this year. He has partnered with me, his Staff, and other volunteer leaders to achieve a shared mission, vision, strategy, and shared strategic goals. His forward thinking allowed us to identify the opportunity and acquire Automation.com. Thank you, Pat, for leading our Society and aligning ISA Staff with our Society’s goals.
- Chesley Grove – Chesley is the premier event coordinator! If you had any doubts about it, they were completely dispelled at the Fall Leaders Meeting and the Gala. This year we changed things up a bit—with our first Executive Summit and more engaging Summer and Fall Leaders Meetings. Chesley embraced the changes and found just the right venues, food, and fun to make the meeting atmosphere perfect. Thank you, Chesley, for organizing exceptional events in the midst of all the changes we made in 2014!
- Jennifer Infantino – Jennifer can build marketing collateral for any potential or existing customer in the pipeline. Her business development skills are the best bar none. She developed a strategy to provide deeper partnerships with our sponsors, allowing ISA to capitalize on the synergies that exist with complementary suppliers of automation products and services. Thank you, Jennifer, for continuing to evolve the meaning of strategically partnering with ISA.
- Rodney Jones – If you are a volunteer leader in a division or section of ISA and you have not met Rodney Jones, you have truly missed out on an opportunity to understand how to become fully involved in your section or division and how to take advantage of all that ISA has to offer to its members. Rodney has kept me informed and engaged with divisions and sections throughout my term as President. He provided valuable feedback on what was happening in the trenches—feedback that allowed me to understand how and when to respond to issues that arose. Thank you, Rodney, for being the conduit between the President’s office, divisions, and sections and for sharing your gifts of helping and service with me and ISA.
- Mike Marlowe – Mike very quietly and unassumingly leads the Society’s efforts with the Automation Federation. Through Mike’s efforts with the AF, ISA has been engaged in powerful partnerships with NIST, DHS, NAM, academia, automation industry partners, professional societies and more! Thank you, Mike, for working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that AF and ISA brands are recognized for all things automation around the globe.
- Stephen Werk – Steve has been this President’s muse. As I have written these articles, he has very thoughtfully guided my effort to produce quality content for the website and the Blog, offering invaluable insights to each article. Thank you, Steve, for your patience and prodding so that I completed each article on time and with adequate copy editing.
- Dalton Wilson – Dalton is the ISA Training Manager who ensures that ISA’s training product offerings are relevant and encompass the breadth of automation topics needed by automation professionals and the automation industry and community around the globe. Dalton has embraced the concept of cool delivery and is even considering using gaming technology to provide a “simulated hand-on” lab component for online training. Thank you, Dalton, for continually evolving our training offerings so we remain relevant and provide excellent content with coolest delivery.
These are just a few of the members of Staff with whom I worked directly during my presidency. And there are folks like Kim Belinsky, Clara Lynn, Charlie Robinson, Carol Schaefer and all the other members of ISA staff whose “solid day-to-day performance” helped make my year as ISA President one I will never forget!
Thank YOU ISA Staff for all that you do!
What about YOU? What does this have to do with you? How can you help?
I am celebrating 2014 as a year of major accomplishments—largely due to the efforts of all of YOU and our amazing STAFF! I am grateful for my term as president and the opportunity to serve alongside each of you.
As we enter this season of giving, you can help me celebrate by giving recognition to members of Staff who help you achieve your division, section, and/or departmental goals. Celebrate their success and recognize their accomplishments at: email@example.com
You can do this today. I just did!
Peggie Koon, Ph.D., is vice president of audience at Chronicle Media and The Augusta Chronicle, which are part of Morris Publishing Group, LLC, a privately held media company based in Augusta, Ga. Prior to joining Morris, Peggie spent more than 25 years developing IT systems for process automation and process control in a variety of industries, including automotive, nuclear defense, aerospace, nuclear reprocessing, thermal ceramics and textiles. Peggie assumed her first ISA leadership position in 1996 as membership chair of the Management Division and has held a variety of prominent leadership roles in the Society. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Smith College in Northampton, Mass. and completed graduate studies in industrial and systems engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She received a doctorate in management information systems from Kennedy Western University in Cheyenne, Wyo.
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A version of this article also has been published in ISA Insights.