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36 The PCB Design Magazine • October 2016 by John Mitchell IPC—ASSOCIATION CONNECTING ELECTRONICS INDUSTRIES The orchestra conductor is an apt metaphor for the successful leader. Effective leadership often boils down to the ability to inspire others (the symphony) to their best work, while keeping and driving the overall vision of the organization (the musical score). Freed from the minutiae of day-to-day op- erations, leaders are called upon to consider the "big picture" and then make the tough strategic decisions that could make or break their team's work. I've spent more than 20 years in the elec- tronics industry, beginning as an engineer for General Electric in upstate New York. For the last four years, I have served as presi- dent and CEO of IPC, a global trade association for the electronics industry. In this role, I have been exposed to all types of problems faced by the CEOs of our more than 3,700 member companies worldwide. In addition, I have wit- nessed innovative management and leadership techniques employed across dozens of different cultures. It would be impossible for me to capture all of the qualities exhibited by the most success- ful executives of the world's largest electronics manufacturers in this short space. I can, howev- er, highlight the themes I've observed and the lessons I've learned in my own career. 1. Integrity trumps all. It's trite to say that the world is small, but it's true. Customers, suppliers, and manufacturers all talk to each other. Those who have the best reputations and longest tenures in this industry are honest to a fault. In addition, to succeed in the most demanding jobs, you have to be able to sleep well at night. The lesson here? Always, always do the right thing. The dividends will follow. 2. Stretch. Do not be satisfied with the status quo. Un- derstand and consistently seek to learn how things might be better and what resources are required to get there. Then, build a plan and start executing and refining until you get there. The moment you become complacent is the moment you begin to lose market share to your competitors. 3. It is all about the people. There's an adage in HR circles that "people don't quit companies, they quit managers." Regardless of your business, at a certain lev- el you're only as good as your team. Thus, the utmost care must be taken to identify, recruit, Six Leadership Lessons from 20 Years in the Electronics Industry FEATURE

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