JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
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The NEW Invensys Culture - took a lickin' but kept on tickin'Just six years ago Invensys was one of the top industrial companies, with annual revenues of about $14B and comparable market-cap. But, after several unwise acquisitions the stock declined drastically and many of the best-performing companies in the group were sold off to stay financially afloat.
The NEW Invensys is a prime example of a corporate culture that has survived under continued adverse conditions. A major share of the credit goes to the people who have remained with Foxboro, which remains the central core of Invensys. The ethos of excellence that stemmed from that source has now spread to other companies in a unified group. The culture of engineering excellence and customer orientation seems not only to have survived, but is now thriving sufficiently to generate a strong turnaround.
A new level of pride in performance has developed at the new Invensys. A majority of talented employees saw the clear business improvements and chose to stay with the company, even though the business strategies were often translated into actions that were sometimes perceived as "cold" and "heartless". Of course, some good people left; but many of the best people stayed, retaining the tremendous depth of talent that has survived with this unusual company.
Invensys is now in the hands of Ulf Henriksson. The new CEO is very hands-on, though less charismatic than his predecessors. He is steadily turning things around with practical operational moves and putting the business back on track.
The good news for Invensys was that although there were difficult years during the business downturn, apart from high-profile exits, many talented people at Foxboro and other group companies stayed on stubbornly, continuing to generate good performance. An internal program called "1x6" gained momentum: Pull together independent business units into one unified IPS by 2006. The executive team was driving a clear strategy to take advantage of excellence across the various group companies in terms of technology and talent.
In October 2005, Invensys started positioning itself to become the leader in asset performance management (APM). Then on April 11, 2006, the second phase of the new industry leadership program culminated with the release of InFusion - the world's first Enterprise Control System. InFusion was the ideal delivery vehicle for APM in process plants, whether or not the processes are controlled by Invensys.
Foxboro was certainly the jewel of Invensys, but the unified IPS has itself become the jewel of Invensys today. For years, many of the good people who stayed on with the company after the acquisition (dubbed the "old guard") had refused to give up their Foxboro identity. But the recent changes, leadership and optimism have brought strong allegiance to Invensys. The resulting culture may be even stronger than the wonderful Foxboro culture of the 1980s.
Peter Martin, VP of Strategic Ventures at Foxboro, who provided significant inputs for this article, says:
"Our results have been multiple - including the excellent financial performance improvements, growth in market share, and growth in customer satisfaction. This makes an old Foxboro person like me more excited about the company than I have been for years!"
You know, I appear to have been pillorying Invensys for years, fueled by negative weblogs from people who seemed to have had no other outlet to complain. This review shows the positive side.
There's an old saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." There are those who complain, and those who solve problems. I'm happy to present this story of the Invensys culture that "took a lickin' but just kept on tickin' ".
ABB continues to deliver strong resultsABB reported a sharp increase in orders and profitability for Q2 2006. Earnings (EBIT) increased to $640M (10.7%) from $371M a year ago, reflecting good growth in the two product divisions. Net income was $367M, with cash flow from operations at $337M.
ABB is clearly benefiting from the strong global demand for improved power infrastructure and increased industrial efficiency. Efforts by the solid and experienced management team continue to pay off and the next half is also expected to be solid.
Matrikon OPC Conference - Join the leadersAmong other industry leaders and gurus, I'll be speaking at the MatrikonOPC User Conference in Houston, TX. on Sept. 12-14, 2006. This will also be held in Cologne, Germany - Oct 10-12, 2006.
Matrikon is the world-leader in OPC technology and applications. This conference is for Process Control & Discrete Manufacturing Professionals. You'll learn first-hand from top-level presentations by end-users and industry experts on ways to improve your process controls, discrete manufacturing and industrial operations.
Here are some of the case studies and other sessions:
Call Matrikon at 877-628-7456 ext 4099
Universal Solidarity MovementDriving on the endless Interstates of the American heartland, my sister and I were discussing things "from afar". And as we were driving, noticing how beautiful and peaceful everything looked, a 1990 Grammy-award winning song by Bette Midler came up on my iPod - "From a distance":
And it echoes through the land
It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace
It's the voice of every man
From a distance, we all have enough
From a distance, you look like my friend
This completely non-religious movement was started by a group of people who decided to "light a candle instead of cursing the dark". The darkness of fear is increasing in the world. Real happiness is missing and people look at each other with suspicion.
The aim of this Movement is to help people rediscover their inter-relatedness - to one another, to Nature and Creation. It aims at re-establishing bonds of friendship between people, celebrating their differences as a source of enrichment and bonding with one another in fellowship.
How can this be done? There are two modules:
I - The Five Paths for personal transformation
II - The 10 points for Social Transformation
Form a USM group in YOUR hometown.
The great Blimericks (Bush Limericks) contestHey, join the Blimericks contest, starting now at Blimericks.com.
Write your own GW Bush limericks - we all know how.
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eFeedbackDr. Ted Mohns [firstname.lastname@example.org] extends the thinking on "asymmetric motivation" to the effects of predatory capitalism:
"The burden of enormous government borrowings, on the other hand, falls mostly on those in lower tax brackets. Likewise, it's not coincidental that labor hasn't benefited from the recent economic recovery, even as corporations enjoy record profits and those in top tax brackets grow wealthier. Fewer people are middle class, the number who are poor increases, and the gap between rich and poor is large and growing.
"This short-sighted and predatory form of capitalism has one interest - the bottom line - and has little sense of national identity or conscience. The pendulum has swung far in this direction at present, and threatens not only domestic manufacture but also knowledge-based workers as outsourcing to foreign nationals increases. As investment in the American people gets cut, America's ability to innovate and compete in the global economy will diminish. Reigning in predatory capitalism will require the public to both realize these issues and to regain the ability to conduct credible elections. Only then will government return to truly serving the common good and not just a well-organized, self-interested minority."
"The idea of consolidation with other professional associations is a good one. But most fear losing the identities and want to be the surviving organization.
"However, I think there's a bigger issue. We Americans live in a highly developed industrialized region, as do most Europeans. Our markets and their constituents are for the most part, highly evolved, well educated and firmly established. The problem is, many are thinking more about retirement than about the next technical challenge.
"Professional societies; who needs 'em? The developing regions of Latin America, Asia, Middle East and Africa, that's who! Like it or not, the general mindset in developed areas (like North America and Europe) is: Been there; done that; we already know it all! But those areas that are just starting out really need what professional societies are best at providing: Experience, guidance, education, benchmarking, policies, procedures, etc.). So, we had better start finding ways to exploit our legacy, and the resultant brains-trust, by recruiting from the international community. And that should be twice as hard as we recruit domestically.
"Who knows; maybe we can even find a suitable repository for all the knowledge and experience that's walking out the door in the form of thousands of young, inquisitive minds eager to take on new challenges while learning from the experts before they all retire."
"I actually believe that poverty can be a life style choice, sometimes the choice of a whole culture. Why do you think India is making strides in software, industrialization, tractors, etc.? And yet, other poor countries choose to remain poor. Should we have "guilt" because we have more (and work harder) than some third-world people?
"Should every educated person who gets a raise give it to the government to distribute as welfare? Heck, no. If some left-winger asks me whether it is better to give $1,000 to educate an American college kid instead of buying 10 high-school educations in the third world, my answer is "it depends." The American college kid might use the money wisely. The third-world country might be in poverty because there is no such thing as a private property right, no encouragement of business, and the dictator has taken billions for his account in Switzerland."
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