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Honeywell culture drives for leadershipWith annual revenue of about $30B and current market-cap of about $32B, Honeywell is arguably the largest US-based automation company. The company operates with four segments: Aerospace, Automation & Control Solutions, Specialty Materials, and Transportation Systems.
Just a few years ago, my overview of Honeywell's corporate culture started with reference to the merger of Honeywell and Allied Signal in 1999 and the famously failed GE acquisition in 2000.
With good leadership and stable management, Honeywell continues not only to survive, but thrive. It's interesting to note that, 6 years after the aborted merger, a comparison of stock prices shows that Honeywell value has gained about 20% over GE in what would have amounted to a stock-swap.
Today Honeywell stands on its own, with little to no talk about divisions and segments being bought out or sold off. In fact, Honeywell has been a significant acquirer recently, with numerous acquisitions in the Automation and Control Solutions (ACS) business, not to mention the significant addition of UOP to their Specialty Materials business.
The new Honeywell does indeed seem to have a stable management in place at the top levels, and they have succeeded in establishing a refreshing, more open culture, with a lot more results orientation and recognition for those who get results.
My updated view of the Honeywell corporate culture has just been published on Automation.com (September 2006). Their popular Corporate Culture Series includes review of several major automation companies, as well as emerging leaders. If you'd like to understand the corporate ethos of other automation companies, please send me an email.
Industrial automation Wireless at the "tipping point"Industrial automation is slow to change. The last major growth spurts came in the 1970's - Honeywell's distributed control systems (DCS), and Dick Morley's invention of the programmable logic controller (PLC). Both of these are now multi-billion industry segments.
Now, 30 years later, there are vibes regarding major growth in a new arena - wireless. Already widely deployed in commercial and business applications, industrial wireless adoption is being delayed because process control users are paranoid about security.
While they are limbering up on their strategies, the majors are using buy-out products from innovative smaller companies like Accutech and Elpro. But, as Hesh Kagan of Invensys comments, "Cobbled together solutions won't work".
Says Andrew Bond in his Industrial Automation Insiders' newsletter: "The future of wireless in process automation could well turn out to be a battle between those who use it 'incrementally' - in effect to replace copper in conventional applications - and those who use it imaginatively to reshape the applications themselves."
Jack Bolick, President of Honeywell Process Solutions says wireless is "at the tipping point" and his group has ambitious plans in this new arena. Their advantage stems from the ability to utilize developments from ACS Technology Labs; a lot of low-cost wireless stuff is coming on line in building automation, where Honeywell is a leader. Industrial customers have different requirements, but the products have applicability across multiple markets.
Meanwhile, something special is brewing at Emerson. On October 2-6, 2006 in Nashville, TN, their "Smart Wireless Introduction" will include briefings, demos and exhibits of new wireless products and plans for the future. John Berra, President of Emerson Process insists that they will show "real products with real benefits for real customers!" John continues, "Emerson has had the benefit of some of the best minds in the world on this subject, most of whom are outside the company and many outside the Process Automation business." Emerson is clearly thinking "outside the box" of incrementalism.
I'm willing to bet that advanced and innovative wireless products, if introduced rapidly at a breakthrough price, would sweep industrial automation markets; end-users would gobble them up. It could spark a new phase of growth that will re-energize industrial automation.
Free worldwide telephone callsHey, until recently I've been making international telephone calls to friends and family at a steep price. Then I noticed a friend chatting endlessly with someone in Columbia, seemingly un-concerned about the cost. Then I discovered that they were talking on Skype - FREE calls, for both sides, anywhere in the world.
For Skype to be free, both parties must have Skype installed on a PC, with a speaker and microphone, and an Internet connection (low-bandwidth phone modem is OK, but higher-bandwidth is better).
It turns out that you can also use Skype to call any regular phone number (so the person on the other end doesn't need Skype too). And that's FREE to a number anywhere in the US and Canada - but only till the end of 2006; after that, to some of the most popular worldwide destinations, the unified rate is about $ 0.02 a minute.
Well, I installed Skype (weblink below). It was easy; took just a few minutes without any problems. I called my own phone number, and it rang! Then I called friends (free to any number in the US and Canada) and they said it sounded fine.
Every time I log on to Skype, they show the number of other people connected - usually in the region of 5-7 million. Wow! And they have a search engine to find other people who also have Skype.
I really don't know why I hadn't "discovered" Skype before. Now I'm a Skype-maniac now. On a recent trip to Las Vegas and Houston, I had a good Internet connection in my hotel and so, rather than incur roaming charges on my cellphone, I used Skype on my laptop instead. And you know what, it was great! The people I talked with were totally unaware that I was making a Skype call. And there were no "dropped calls".
I was surprised at how many friends and acquaintances DO have Skype. But, of course, it means they have to be connected to their computer when I call. But hey, to save big bucks I call my brother in India and tell him to get read for my free Skype call. But then, I run out of things to talk about after some minutes anyway. I don't know how some people seem to be able to talk for hours.....
World Happiness MapA recent study used the responses of 80,000 people worldwide to make a happiness-map. It did a "meta-analysis" of various studies which asked questions related to happiness and satisfaction with life, and related these to health, wealth and education.
Happier people are healthier, more successful, harder-working, caring and more socially engaged. Misery makes people self-obsessed and inactive.
When are asked if they were happy with their lives, people in countries with good healthcare, higher average income, and access to education were much more likely to report being "happy".
Interestingly, these are the measures that politicians use to track changes in happiness. In the UK, a BBC survey found that 81% think that the government should focus on making people happier rather than wealthier.
Strangely, happiness has a somewhat negative image in some western cultures. After all, isn't it selfish to try to increase our own happiness, while much of the world faces suffering?
Some think that happiness is a trivial pursuit, a dream perpetuated by self-help gurus in a burgeoning "happiness industry". Many people comfort themselves by believing they are happier than average, and that they'll be even happier within a few years if they strive for more wealth - which keeps driving them in the proverbial "rat-race".
Most think that if people describe themselves as happy, then they ARE happy. But psychologists differentiate between happiness-levels. The most immediate involves feelings of pleasure or joy. But mostly happiness is a judgment that life is satisfying, and does not imply an emotional state.
Public surveys measure what makes us happy. Marriage does, pets do, but children don't seem to (despite what we think). Youth and old age are usually the happiest times. Money does not add much to happiness.
It's well known that rich people are not happy, yet the pursuit of wealth and "The American Dream" persists. The happiness of lottery winners returns to former levels within a year. Most people disabled in an accident are likely to become almost as happy again. Some think that happiness levels are probably genetic.
Here's how some of the major countries ranked on Happiness:
It's interesting that the Scandinavian countries ranked in the top-10. Canadians are happier than Americans, and the Irish than the British. Japan is low on the scale; India and China still have to work at it, Russia is fairly low on the scale. Take a look at the complete list.
Hey, are YOU happy? Do YOU know what makes you happy?
Religions are a divisive force in the worldIn the first decade of this new century, I can't think of ANY conflict in the world today that involves anything other than Religion.
Here's a list of the major world religions (Source: Adherents.com):
This past week, Pope Benedict quoted some obscure medieval text which inflamed the Muslim world. This crisis aside, Benedict clearly has a more hawkish approach to Islam than his predecessor. Militant Muslims link this to increased American militarism. Unlike previous Protests over Danish cartoons, the Pope's thoughtless blunder will have far-reaching effects for many years. It's interesting to note that there are more Muslims in the world, than Catholics.
The cover of the Sept-Oct 2006 of "The Futurist" (journal of the World Future Society) features an article by Tom McFaul, professor of ethics and religious studies and author of a forthcoming book regarding the role of the world religions in the 21st Century.
In the WFS article, "Religion in the Future Global Civilization" McFaul explores 3 possible scenarios regarding whether world religions will bring greater peace and justice or more hatred and hostility.
eFeedbackJoanne Harris [email@example.com] started a discussion by telling us why she would NOT vote for a woman president. After reading my sister's comments, she sent us this response on the feminine ethos:
"Imagine my shock when, after landing my first job in Logistics at Kennedy Space Center, a good-looking man approached me, shook my hand, and asked, 'So, whose secretary are you?' I had just completed my BA in Journalism: PR and Advertising. I was floored - and yes, ticked off!
"I learned quickly that if you wore a dress to work, it was assumed you were a secretary. If you dressed in slacks or jeans, you were perceived as being a 'techie'. Guess what my typical wardrobe was over the next few years?
"I've moved into the automation industry, and now have several security industry clients - all male-dominated industries.
"What I've learned is this. Your sister Dora is right. The woman who emulates a hard-nosed, masculine attitude loses her femininity, and intimidates the daylights out of men. We, as women, should find our balance to express our ability to lead without being 'one of the boys'. I don't blame men for being intimidated be the She-male boss. She intimidates me, too!
"It is sad, though, when men are intimidated by women who have been blessed with intelligence and talent. Yes, I can serve a romantic dinner in a long, flowing dress and get up the next morning and hammer out a article or a few nails in a 2x4, and maintain 100% femininity. Go figure!
"I think that each sex has its strengths to offer, and we should each be proud to offer what we can."
"If you profile the number of people in the country against their age group you will see a bulge of older people. As these people grow older they become more expensive for the family and/or state to support, and they are less likely to earn money as they collectively retire. This is common across the Western world too - the difference in China is that they had almost exactly half the children required to maintain the population, whereas in the West we had fractionally fewer than the sustaining number of children per family.
"This has two related impacts for the Chinese; firstly the tax base for providing state support will be drastically smaller than in the West, so the workers must give more and be more productive. Secondly, a population of single-child families has an exponentially reduced extended family to rely on to look after both the very old and the very young, which aggravates the first problem as the workers will have to spend more time or money looking after their dependent family members.
"So tremendous positive trends in China are required not only to dominate the world's economy, but to ensure that their culture is sustainable for the next few decades. If they manage that until their population profile normalizes, then their wealth and power will be unimaginable. In the meantime, I fear that a generation of Chinese people will live in... interesting times..."
"Well I haven't listened to music. I do enjoy sending and receiving pics of the grandkids etc. It's almost impossible to read the display outside in Colorado sunshine and the small letters are hard on my aging eyes. However on a recent trip, I lost the signal in a wide area - in places where my old analog phone worked.
"A big reason for having a cell phone is that if you have a problem on a lonely mountain road, you can call for help. Cingular's response was: 'Our digital network is not fully built out yet and we're concentrating on expanding in metro areas'.
"Now, The Onstar system in our Cadillac seemed to work all along this stretch - unless of course the problem that I want to report is a flat battery and then it won't work. Gotta keep a sense of humor."
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