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2011 Emerson Global User Exchange Kicks-off with Steve Sonnenberg Keynote

Investment in people, plants and service centers, building a listening culture, transparency and trust set the tone for the record crowd of 2,850 in attendance at the Emerson Global Users Exchange in Nashville, Tenn.

2011 has brought double-digit growth around the globe for Emerson, says President of Process Management, Steve Sonnenberg, in his keynote address this morning. Despite bad economic news in the press, Sonnenberg is “pretty optimistic” about the future, stressing that Emerson is in it for the long term and continues to add people and facilities around the world. North America added 1,000 jobs this year, Europe 650, Latin America 320, Asia/Pacific 1,800 and Mid-East/Africa 200. One disappointment, said Sonnenberg, is that ”in a sea of unemployment, we were unable to fill all our technical positions with qualified personnel.” 

This week’s Exchange will host visitors from 40 different countries, attending more than 350 workshops and short courses. Sonnenberg addressed new technology in safety, wireless, subsea, and energy management are a key focus here this week, but he also talked about trust. Thinking about Wall Street and our politicians, maybe trust today is overused.  “It’s not static,” he adds, “rather something that has to be earned every day.”
 
From recent feedback, Sonnenberg mentioned that customers give Emerson high marks in people and products but sometimes mentioned the organization being slow to respond.  Other customers mentioned the products are great, but sometimes users have trouble getting the most out of the technology, leading to a focus this year on human-centered design.
 
“Building a listening culture is key to Emerson becoming your trusted advisor,” Sonneberg says. And in the spirit of transparency, he went on to acknowledge that recent flooding in Thailand had lead to supply chain challenges that are being addressed this very minute.
 
It was refreshing, to say the least, to hear a top exec talk about more than numbers. Sonnenberg’s honesty about continuing to build a listening culture is excellent advice for all business managers, and was appreciated by all.
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