Leadership in Challenging Times

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani gave the Wednesday morning keynote to Interphex attendees April 27 on a topic that he is surely qualified to address—leadership in challenging times.

A former federal prosecutor turned mayor, Giuliani gained fame for the way he handled the crisis of the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks.

Giuliani boiled his thoughts on leadership down to seven principles. Seven is not only a good number, but it fits well into a 45-minute presentation. Here are Giuliani’s excellent seven principles (with a kicker) on leadership in challenging times:

Have a set of beliefs. Know what you believe. Ideas are enormously important in leadership. His examples were Ronald Reagan and Martin Luther King Jr.

Optimism. “You should be optimistic anyway, you’ll have more fun.” Offer solutions, not only criticism. Think success.

Ethics. The second principle is so powerful that it can be used for evil as well as good, because people really want to follow an optimistic person. Therefore, leaders need ethics to know right from wrong and use their powers for good.

Courage. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the acknowledgement of the presence of fear and being able to overcome it. This applies to every part of life from handling disease to leading a business.

Relentless preparation. Not everything can be anticipated in complex endeavors, but if you are well prepared you can use the plans already developed to move quickly to meet the new and unanticipated challenges.

Teamwork. After graduating from law school, Giuliani clerked for a federal judge. The judge once asked the clerks to tell him what all federal judges have in common. “They’re all cranky?” he responded. No, responded the judge, they are all either Republicans or Democrats and are selected by the President in office at the time. Trouble is, he said, some of them after a period of time believe that they’ve been selected by God.

Communication. You have to get your ideas out and explain them. Scared about communicating? If you have done the thinking about the first six principles, just talk about that. It will just come naturally from that.

But...after achieving these seven principles, most of all you’ve got to care about what you’re doing.

Leading by example

Two examples of leadership in our industry occurred in May. First, Professor Jay Lee, director of the Center for Intelligent Maintenance Systems (IMS) and professor in advanced manufacturing at the University of Cincinnati, headed its Industrial Advisory Board meeting in Ann Arbor, Mich. Lee has provided leadership to bring together academia, suppliers and users in an effort to improve manufacturing.

The second example was a demonstration of the various technologies of Foundation Fieldbus at a chemicals plant in Lima, Ohio. Lead Controls Engineer John Rezebek, of International Specialty Products (ISP), stood before a group of editors in Lima and not only explained how the system was engineered, he also demonstrated it actually working. Rezebek has been active with the Fieldbus Foundation and saw the possibilities for cost savings and productivity improvement with a digital network. He sold management on the idea, then led engineering.

What are you doing to help lead our profession?

Year three

With this issue, Automation World enters its third year of publication. Launched June 2003, we are now two years old. Our team has dedicated itself to bringing the best examples of automation in a new way. Reader response has been great, but we are always looking for ways to improve. If you have any thoughts, send them to me at gmintchell@automationworld.com. You can find more detail about the topics mentioned in this editorial both at www.automationworld.com and on my Blog at radio.weblogs.com/0133292/.

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