Teams Rule

This month seems to be a leadership and teamwork month.

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And it's not just because we have some changes at Summit Media and Automation World. Jim Chrzan succeeds Dave Harvey as publisher of Automation World. Jim moved the great distance of a half-dozen offices in our Chicago suite from the Packaging World side to the Automation World side. Summit Media also owns Packaging World, along with Healthcare Packaging, which Jim will continue to lead. You can read his introduction: www.automationworld.com/columns-7956.

My colleague and mentor, Jane Gerold, who plucked me out of the plants in 1997 and tried to make an editor out of me, is assuming an expanded role in our custom media and new media areas. She's the driving force behind the Webcasts you watch and some of the information we provide with several partners.

In my role, I have the opportunity to interview almost all of the leaders of automation. I've met many impressive leaders and managers over the years, and one outstanding leader is John Berra. John just retired from Emerson after a long and illustrious career. I'm proud to announce that he will be providing Automation World readers with perspectives and pointers gleaned from his career. Watch for the first column in February 2011.

I've talked with senior leadership of some of the leading automation suppliers over the past couple of months. You've read many of the reports that came from our coverage of Emerson Process Management, Invensys Operations Management and Rockwell Automation user conferences. Following those came an opportunity to sit down with several senior team members and the Chief Operating Officer for the Americas of Omron Electronics Industrial Automation division. In every case, the cohesiveness and focus of senior management and its leadership was evident. This does not assure success, but its lack will assure disaster.

Ever the student of leadership, I latched onto a copy of Richard L. Daft's new book, "The Executive and the Elephant," as soon as I could. In fact, I answered a few questions and "tweeted" the information from Michael Hyatt's Intentional Leadership blog (www.michaelhyatt.com). He is the chief executive officer of Thomas Nelson Publishing and generously sent a free, autographed copy. The book is the basis of this month's Automation Team upfront department (see Building Inner Excellence). Check that out for more tips on becoming a good leader.

Achieve focus

Daft talks about the need for focus. Jim Pinto also hit on that theme as part of his column on "Collaborative Leadership". He says, "More than anything, focus and passion are the ingredients of success. The primary job of the manager is to help the team to remain focused on key objectives, and to infuse every member with the passion to achieve superlative results. For the team, it's not just work—it's the mission!" I could not agree more.

This issue marks the end of our eighth year. We thank you for helping us have a successful run so far. I'm looking forward to another eight. Our team sought to develop a magazine, Web site and any other innovative means we could think of for communicating a vision of using automation for advancing the cause of manufacturing. We believe that manufacturing is essential to the well being of the economy, and we strive to provide the kind of information that you can use to achieve success. There will be a few changes in the look of Automation World for next year. We're expanding the upfront pages into a new "Perspectives" section, still covering leadership, technologies and industries. Look for a couple of other special pages with cool graphics and information. Let us know what you think. And have a great 2011.

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