A Note from the ASEM President

29 Apr 2016 8:00 AM | Anonymous

Author: Geert Letens, ASEM President

Where you able to attend our recent webinar on ‘The Art and Science of Business Performance Management’? The webinar was provided by one of the world’s most renowned speakers on performance measurement, Professor Dr Umit Bititci of the Heriot Watt University, School of Management and Languages in Edinburgh (UK). We received some very positive feedback on the webinar and I must say I really enjoyed his presentation for many reasons as well.

First, it was really interesting to see how he presented himself. The summary of his intro just sounded so familiar: ‘I started my career as an engineer, then became a manager, worked as a consultant for several years, and currently I am active as a researcher and scientist’. I couldn’t think of a better profile to address the various customer segments of ASEM: engineers, engineering managers, EM consultants and scientists.

So no wonder that the core message of his presentation was completely aligned with the spirit of engineering management as it is reflected in our EM Body of Knowledge and EM Handbook. The science of business performance management can help you to develop the maturity of your organization’s performance measurement system. You could think of this as the technical dimension of performance measurement. The engineer inside of us really likes this dimension. The art of business performance measurement however, is to link the performance measurement system to a culture that stimulates empowerment and learning, versus a culture that simply uses measurement for better (read – ‘more’) command and control. This is the people dimension of business performance measurement which is really critical to achieve sustainable business results. Bring these two dimensions together and you will be surprised about what can be accomplished. I can’t think of a better way to promote ‘engineering – management’. This is what we need to do early in our careers when we manage a team of project specialists, what we further develop throughout our careers to become successful managers, and what we really focus on as leaders in a technology-oriented context.

The other thing that I really liked about the webinar was its international character. Umit presented the webinar from his office in Edinburgh (UK), Gana Natarajan (our Communication Director) hosted it from his university in Oregon, I attended from a hotel room in Tallinn (Estonia), and some of the attendees included folks from our partners in China and Brazil. Amazing isn’t it? What a way to attract the attention of engineering managers around the world! As a result, we plan to do this more. We already identified speakers from China and Brazil that will talk about their experience as engineering managers of some amazing engineering projects. This will also allow us to seek balance on another dimension that is so important for our society: to share the best of theory and practice. This is a foundational principle of our constitution that only further grows in importance as we reach out to collaborate with other engineering societies around the globe.

I want to thank Gana as well as Simon Philbin (our International Director) for their leadership on setting up these new international webinars. Engineering Management: People and Technology - Theory and Practice. Does it make sense to you too? Sad you missed the webinar? It is currently available for members on our website at https://asem.org/Webinar-Archive – way to go ASEM!

Geert Letens, PhD PEM
ASEM President 2015-2016 President@asem.org

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