The following discussion is part of an occasional series, "Ask the Automation Pros," authored by Greg McMillan, industry consultant, author of numerous process control books, and 2010 ISA Life Achievement Award recipient. Program administrators will collect submitted questions and solicits responses from automation professionals. Past Q&A videos are available on the ISA YouTube channel. View the playlist here. You can read all posts from this series here.
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Ed Farmer's Question:
Long ago I watched an Army National Guard sergeant-major building a unit intended for rapid deployment to State emergencies (such as floods, earthquakes, forest fires, etc.). It was impossible to watch his unit going together without feeling very impressed and very proud of what he was doing.
I asked him what he was doing that quickly produced so much success. He said they trained them in the tasks and then pointed them at situations needing what they should be able to do. Then, he said, he watched them like a hawk. He would look for things going well, and jump in to compliment them on their effort and quality.
All of them worked extra-hard to achieve his notice, and especially a compliment. The sergeant-major knew his troops could be taught all the required subjects and develop the required skills but for success, in his words, “They have to want it.” In the process industry, how can we improve the performance of people working on automation system projects?
Hunter Vegas' Responses:
- Seek to improve weaknesses
- Do not assign tasks that poorly match the team member's skill set