Home' AME : AME Target Winter 2015 Contents 36 TARGET AME.ORG/TARGET
an odd timeframe, such as a 39-minute
time limit versus the traditional 60, or
picking a secret location that would only
be revealed shortly before the meeting.
Work smarter, not harder
In his high-energy presentation, Nick
Bontis, expert on intellectual capital and
its impact on performance, said success
starts with working smarter, not harder.
He pointed to information bombardment
as the single most damaging threat to
productivity. He illustrated how infor-
mation has multiplied exponentially
over time with technologies such as the
Internet and mobile devices. As human
beings who can’t simply change out pro-
cessors, we have to learn how to take in
and understand more of that information.
Bontis specifically pointed to the level of
reading and comprehension required to
keep up with the speed of information
today and in the future. He recommended
taking a speed-reading test found at Nick-
Bontis.com to find out exactly how fast
(or slow) you can read through a knowl-
edge-absorption diagnostic exercise. He
recommended that manufacturers (and
their families) work toward exceeding 200
words per minute or risk being left behind
in future information societies.
Today’s leaders must transform the
way they work and measurably improve
outcomes, said Steven Spear, senior
lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Man-
agement. Using examples of competitive
companies, he underscored how four
companies could face the same set of
challenges, markets and customers,
yet only one will emerge as the leader.
“Why? Leaders lead with the Learning
Edge.” According to Spear, the Learning
Edge is “value to market with speed and
ease.” These companies got to the solu-
tion by discovering problems, solving the
problems, spreading the discovery and
then building on the capability of the first
As an example, Spear pointed to how
one women’s shelter brought value to
market with speed and ease. Tradition-
ally, women seeking shelter faced a
daunting process of calling the shelter
and then waiting four days while their
request went through some 42 state and
county agencies. The shelter beat com-
petitive shelters by working to slash the
required time to four hours, a much more
Clarify the vision
Hope plays a key role in becoming a
transformative leader, asserted Libby
Gill, executive coach and author.
The key components of hope, she said,
are the belief that change is possible, the
expectation that your actions will result
in a better future and that your belief
in the process will drive behavior. She
highlighted three steps she recommends
in a world of overcomplication: Clarify
the vision, simplify the plan and then
execute the plan.
“You plug in the relevant data, clarify
the vision, simplify the path, take out
extraneous information and execute the
plan against measurable and specific
milestones,” she said.
Google executive Michael Walton said true
innovation is essential for positive change.
At Google, Walton said it has raised the
expression of “10X” to a verb. Google em-
ployees ask how they can 10X a product
or process. In other words, if you are going
to improve something, seek to improve it
by a factor of 10, not merely 10 percent.
Pilot, entrepreneur and adventurer Dick
Rutan regaled the AME audience with the
story of his non-stop and unrefueled flight
around the world in 1986 in his home-built
Voyager plane. Following an illustrious Air
Force career, he pursued this record-break-
ing flight in response to his mother’s admo-
nition to “dream it, believe it and accom-
plish it.” Although failures are inevitable, he
said, they provide a window of opportunity
for improving your first effort. He said not to
give in to what you perceive as failure.
For the closing keynote, John Ratzen-
berger, aka Cliff Clavin from the sitcom
“Cheers,” reflected on the work ethic
that made America great. Ratzenberger
provided an inspirational look back at
the role manufacturing played when he
was young and could easily be used as
the basis for engaging today’s youth to
consider a career in manufacturing.
“My mom worked at a plant, and I felt
there should be an audience outside the
plant every night to applaud their work,
because without those folks, we don’t
have a country. We don’t have a civiliza-
tion,” he said.
Ratzenberger produced and hosted
“Made in America,” which highlights
and celebrates the work ethic that built
America. He is currently working on
a documentary about the shortage of
skilled workers in America. He also
recently founded the manufacturing
hall of fame in Bridgeport, Connecticut
“Manufacturing is to America what
spinach is to Popeye. You (manufactur-
ers) are the strength of this country!” he
AME Dallas 2016
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speakers, join us for AME Dallas
2016, Oct. 19-23.
My mom worked at a plant, and I felt there should be an
audience outside the plant every night to applaud their
work, because without those folks, we don’t have a country.
We don’t have a civilization.
CLOSING KEYNOTE SPEAKER
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