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The Passionate Pursuit of the Possible

April 25, 2016
    Awards programs provide education, inspiration and opportunities for celebration and reflection.

I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to launch a new awards program. In every industry and sub-industry, at every conceivable level, an award highlights every imaginable positive attribute. Isn't the market flooded?

No. I'm happy to introduce in this issue, the IndustryWeek Industry Excellence Awards program.

The entire process -- from developing the program, to reviewing and selecting from among the nominees, and, most of all, interviewing the recipients -- renewed my passion for what I do.

This realization leads me to believe that an awards program is as important for how it affects the rest of us, as it is for honoring the recipients. Awards and their honorees are the ultimate benchmark. Within the community in which they're bestowed, they describe: "This is what success looks like."

In developing the awards program, IW editors sought to reflect the manufacturing community's values, what it cares about:  the continuous pursuit of perfecting the leadership practices that are critical to successfully and sustainably growing a manufacturing business. To start, we chose technology and talent leadership, along with lifetime achievement, to go along with our well-known effort in identifying the IW Best Plants, which celebrates excellence in operations leadership and execution. We'll be unveiling a full slate of awards for next year's program.

So what are the takeaways for the rest of us? For me, it's education, inspiration and opportunities for celebration and reflection.

Education: In exploring what the honorees have accomplished, and how they've done it, we learn new ways of thinking and approaching challenges. As well, we learn new best practices and strategies (along with fresh approaches to "old" ones).

Inspiration: In reading and hearing the stories, we realize others have achieved the seemingly impossible. This opens our minds to new possibilities.

Celebration and reflection: Taking time from the daily grind to fete those who have found whatever it takes -- persistence, belief, hard work -- to successfully execute a business strategy gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on our own journeys and, hopefully, rededicate ourselves to them.

Finally for me, the Industry Excellence Award recipients, whose stories begin on page 10, remind me of the one element that is crucial to the pursuit of the possible: a passionate focus on a singular vision. Amidst the distractions of the day-to-day hustle, that's easy to forget.

I trust their stories will similarly help strengthen your resolve in your journey to achieve leadership excellence.

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