by Bob Ives - Former President
ISA & Chicago Section Member
The other day an associate asked why I became involved with ISA and I thought some of our Chicago Section members might be interested in my response. Actually, there were three drivers for my active involvement in ISA.
The first is that ISA is the association most closely aligned with my career pursuits. Being in the process control field, I felt it essential to become part of this community. I needed first-hand knowledge of what was happening from a technology standpoint, from a business standpoint and from a personnel standpoint. These are all subsets of the networking opportunity provided by a technical society ... in our case, ISA. Whether it occurs in meetings ... in papers, newsletters or articles ... or in one-on-one, off-line conversations, I was able to keep abreast of the changes that were taking place in my professional environment. This provided me with a knowledge base which enhanced the success of my career.
The second is that I believe involvement in associations like ISA can help develop leadership skills. Providing leadership in a "volunteer, non-profit" organization is significantly more challenging than managing and/or leading a for-profit organization. No question it is easier to sit on the sidelines as a passive ISA member; but you are missing a unique opportunity to engage with peers and develop skill sets that may assist you in career advancement. Holding office in an ISA Section where your only leverage is your ability to persuade and lead is a challenge for anyone ... with the result that you develop and exercise skill sets you wouldn't otherwise use.
The third is I believe in the concept of "giving back". In today's world, this may sound old fashioned, but it is still important to me. Whether it's to your place of worship, to your college, to your community, or to your industry ... I feel it's important to give back to those institutions that in some way provided a platform for my success and enjoyment of life. (Sounds hokey, but it's my belief!)
So these three drivers caused me to get engaged in ISA when I was 30 and to continue an active involvement until I fully retire. It has been rewarding in rounding out my career and in developing a group of life-long friends engaged in similar professional pursuits. I would encourage anyone who wants to grow to become actively engaged in the non-profit organizations that are part of your career and/or life pursuits ... in our case, this includes ISA.
- Bob Ives
Gruhn, PE, CFSE
My First Epiphany
I’ve heard the word “epiphany” a gazillion times and know what it means, but it didn’t have any personal meaning for me until recently.
I’ve been an ISA “leader” and attending President’s meetings for more than a dozen years. These meetings are where ISA leaders from all over the world get together to handle society business (e.g., publications, training, finances, standards, strategic planning, etc.). We always start the weekend (yes, we work through an entire weekend) with a general leadership topic. Rather than utilizing an outside speaker, we had one of our very own ISA leaders give the most recent talk this April in Memphis (“The Leadership Toolbox: Building skills to lead and succeed”). A concept presented in the first few slides really floored me.
A person’s effectiveness is based on a combination of their knowledge, dedication, and leadership abilities. Imagine someone who’s a technical expert with specific knowledge and dedication, but with little leadership ability. Such a person’s effectiveness could be plotted as shown in Figure 1. Good, but not great. Now imagine how much more effective that person could be if they had more leadership ability (as shown in Figure 2). Like all skills, leadership is something you learn, it’s not something you’re born with.
Figure 1: Success Without Leadership
Figure 2: Success With
I may be an independent consultant, but the importance of leadership skills has become glaringly obvious to me. I now have the desire to learn and experience more. I’ve recently been accepted for a national ISA executive board position and have also agreed to move up the traditional leadership roles within the Houston section (i.e., Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, President, Past President…). I’ll need to increase my leadership skills to be most effective at all this.
What about you? Where are you within the effectiveness chart? Where do you want to be? If you want to experience and learn more about leadership, getting involved in your local ISA section would be a great start! Think about it! There are plenty of roles available where you can start small and have a mentor guide you. It will help you both personally and professionally. Contact any of the board members to discuss the opportunities. You’ll be glad you did!
Related FilesBob Ives Testimonial (Microsoft Word Document)
Paul Gruhn article (Microsoft Word Document)
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