From the CEO: Four rules to help leaders set the tone

AME | November 5, 2021


Organizational culture can come from anywhere. Everyone plays a role in creating and embracing culture. If you participated in the AME Everywhere 2021 conference opening night celebration, you heard Jon Colby talk through the four rules of improvisation and how they apply to our professional lives:

  1. Yes, and – Take what others are throwing out there and build on it. Use a “yes, and” mentality to help things develop instead of thinking “no, but.”
  2. There are no mistakes – A continuous improvement mindset means that even when mistakes are made — and they will be made! — we accept them and move on. Think of the word “fail” as an acronym that means First Attempt In Learning.
  3. Be fully present – Be an active listener and avoid distractions when working with others. There are nuances to body language and word choice that you can only pick up when you look for them. Giving a person your undivided attention is a way to show respect and let them know that they matter.
  4. Have fun – Work, like improv, is an adventure. Have fun with it, embrace the challenges, and celebrate the victories, whether they be large or small.

With those guidelines in mind, leaders can build a culture that is grounded in respect, provides a safety net for failure, and allows everyone to participate fully.

For AME, we are fortunate to have a stellar board of directors that supports these rules. I am excited to announce that we have made recent changes to the members of our board of directors, as outlined in our by-laws.

Marc Braun (chair), Jenny Snow-Boscolo (chair-elect) and Rich Fitzgerald (treasurer) will continue to serve on our executive committee but in new roles. Meanwhile, Billy Taylor has joined the executive committee as secretary. Wayne Pitchford, will serve as past chair, helping to mentor Marc and ensure continuity in processes and strategy.

We are excited to welcome Michael Muilenburg as a direct-at-large. Michael is director, operational technology and strategic planning film and materials science, technology and engineering at 3M. He joins Brian Fields (Newport News Shipbuilding), Peggy Gulick (Kohler), Robert Martichenko (Transplace), Gregg Miner (Jeld-Wen) and Ellen Sieminski (Littelfuse), who continue as directors-at-large.

Rounding out the board roster Larry Anderson (Southwestern Region) and Richard Evans (Canada Region) continue to serve as AME voting regional presidents. They are joined by Terry Spalding (Midwestern Region) who will begin his tenure in this role.

We are grateful to Bill Fierle, who served in the past chair role last year, for his service to the board and the AME community. As he exits the board and executive committee, Bill can be proud of the large role he played in helping AME overcome the challenges we faced in recent years. He helped AME establish a new strategic plan and shift from in-person to virtual events and conferences. Under his leadership, the AME board named me AME’s president and CEO. I am grateful that he and the board entrusted me with this important job.

Leadership can come from anyone. There are organizational leaders, team and department managers, and even those who lead horizontally without any established authority. Whatever way you lead, know that your role is important to establish your organization’s culture. At AME, I am grateful to have leadership at the top that embraces the four rules Jon Colby shared with us recently.

As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.