SMT007 Magazine

SMT-Nov2016

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70 SMT Magazine • November 2016 The struggle has been most successful when the country's elected leaders have been true to the founder's objectives. However, our coun- try's leaders have not been all elected. Martin Luther King Jr. was never elected to a govern- ment position, but few would deny that he was one of the greatest leaders the United States has ever produced. This column will discuss the role of leader- ship in your company. Do you play a role in this rather amorphous subject? Leadership is an in- gredient that most feel is important, even though many find it is hard to define. Some say that you will know good leadership when you see it. Teaching Leadership In some ways leadership skills mirror engi- neering skills in the difficulty academia has in making them relevant in the real world. Apart from getting really good at solving the odd- numbered problems at the end of the chapter, engineering academia preparing students for a career in high tech electronic product design and assembly has been and always will be inef- fective in teaching the real-world skills industry needs. Certainly, we should expect no change if post-secondary education remains structured in the traditional way. As discussed in prior columns, important skills such as working in teams, solving prob- lems without closed-form solutions, good judg- ment, conflict resolution and leadership, that are called upon frequently in the real world have little place on the college campus. Col- leges and universities can teach the mechanics of using spreadsheets, budgeting, PERT charts, etc., but these are management, not leadership skills. So, let's review: In the September column [1] , we conclud- ed our six-part series with commentary on the current state of post-secondary education— one that leads to a career in the high tech elec- tronic product assembly business. We demon- strated the acute need to significantly improve a student's academic preparation, both for the benefit of the student and the student's real world employer. This new teaching methodol- ogy called concurrent education should be ap- plied to any dynamic engineering discipline or technology that changes more rapidly than aca- demia has the ability to adapt to the change. In addition, the teaching strategy provides imme- diate value to the graduating student because it is a blend of learning for learning and learning for earning [1] . The Role of Leadership in Your Company In the October issue, we launched a new se- ries of columns focused on challenging our tra- ditional organizational business structure. A structure that is hierarchical in nature and built upon the premise that it is best to collect em- ployees of common skills into departments. Specifically, we challenged how our high tech electronic product assembly operations have been staffed and managed. In addition, we dis- cussed the explicit and implicit roles leadership plays in a company's growth and prosperity [2] . We made the case that there is a huge differ- ence between management and leadership. In fact, they are polar opposites! One of the rea- sons we have tended to lump them together is because they both involve planning, influenc- ing and directing the activities of others in the organization. Consequently, the costs associated with these activities are considered indirect and are burdened – i.e., they are estimated and absorbed in the direct labor sell rate. They are what con- tribute to raising a $15.50 average hourly direct labor rate to, in some cases, a $50.43 burdened hourly labor sell rate. 3 What is the cost of management and lead- ership in your company? And, what does your company get for that money? Over the next few columns we'll do a value assessment and try to quantify these indirect, LEADERSHIP IN YOUR COMPANY: SOMETHING TO WORRY ABOUT? " Certainly, we should expect no change if post-secondary education remains structured in the traditional way. "

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