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Manufacturing: Adaptability, Excellence, Attitude…and Passion

by Rick Baker
On May 25, 2010
My friend Paul Hogendoorn is President of OES, Inc in London, Ontario.
OES is a leader in the advanced electronics sector…check out their website  www.oes-inc.com .
Paul also writes articles for Manufacturing Automation magazine. www.automationmag.com.
Since a summary will not capture his message anywhere near as well as Paul conveys it, I have provided a complete copy of his May 2010 column “Passion: The Fourth Ingredient”.
Passion: The Fourth Ingredient
By Paul Hogendoorn
George Harrison, a Dallas Mavericks’ game, and a cab ride to the airport. How could these topics have anything at all to do with a column about the manufacturing industry today? The editors of this fine magazine have graciously extended me a lot of latitude over years – let’s see if they let me try to put this one together!
Actually, it won’t be too much of a stretch at all. In previous columns, I have written about what I believe are 3 of the key ingredients for survival in the manufacturing industry today: adaptability, excellence and attitude. The fourth ingredient, in my mind, is “passion”.
Last month I was in Dallas and was watching the Maverick’s play the Lakers. One of my company’s divisions designs and manufactures scoreboards, and Dallas is one of “our” venues. During one break in the action, the camera spotted a couple of celebrities in attendance and put their faces on the big video board. The crowd erupted in spontaneous applause and the celebrities smiled and waved graciously. I had no idea who they were, so I leaned over and asked a colleague sitting beside me. But, since he was in my age bracket, he was equally clueless. We started polling the people immediately around us until we got to a couple in their late teens or early twenties. “It’s Beyonce and Jay Z” they said incredulously, amazed that we didn’t recognize these two mega-stars.
I had heard of the names and through my kids, probably had heard some of their music too. But it wasn’t “my” music, from my era – an era that I would describe as “when music mattered”. I don’t want to argue that music in my era was the best, or most creative, or most popular, but I think I can make a strong case that music in my era – the last 60’s and early 70’s – mattered more than music before it or after it. The music of that day tried to actually change the world, a truly audacious objective - and in a lot of ways it did. There were all the songs about “peace” trying to stop the war in Viet Nam; about “love”, trying to change society’s focus from capitalism to personal enlightenment; about a new generation coming of age, with anti-establishment protest songs heralding their arrival. And then there was George Harrison’s classic two-record masterpiece, drawing our attention to the poverty and misery in Bangladesh.
My colleague was in complete agreement with me. John Lennon, The Who, CCR – so many of the bands and musicians of that day had something important to say. It wasn’t really their music that was trying to change the world though – it was their passion that was. Their music was their means of change, but the power that drove it was their passion to effect change. There are many today that suggest that the changes in the USSR that led to the eventual dismantling of the Iron Curtain and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall began when the Beatles first toured Russia and a new generation had been awakened with a fresh sense of their own ideals, ambition and identity.
Today, we have many companies in need of life saving change. They are holding on by their fingernails, hoping for “the economy to turn around”, or a life saving concession from their workforce, or a government guarantee or bailout. But what they really need is what I wrote about in 3 of my previous columns – an ability to adapt quickly, a focus on excellence, and an all-inclusive change in attitudes. And, they need world changing passion; a passion strong enough to change their world.
The next morning, I took the shuttle to the airport. In a casual conversation with the driver, he told me was from Bangladesh. “Do you know anything about Bangladesh?” he asked me. “Only what I know from George Harrison” I replied. “Oh, George Harrison” he says breaking into a reverent smile, “He is a true hero in my country, everyone knows about him!”. He goes on to tell me that in his hometown there is a big museum dedicated solely to him, about how he drew the world’s attention to that country, how the country has never been the same, and that there’s a picture of his face that covers an entire wall. George Harrison did change their world with his music, but it was far more than his talent for writing words and creating melodies, it was his passion and commitment for that cause.
Passion is what makes you go on when logic tells you to stop. Passion is what makes you deaf to unbelievers and blind to distractions. A good idea may attract people to your cause for a quick look- and-see, but passion is what keeps them there. Passion is what makes your efforts powerful beyond simple strength; it’s the critical ingredient needed to change a world.   
Paul Hogendoorn is president of OES, Inc. and chair of the London Region Manufacturing Council. He can be reached at phogendoorn@oes-inc.com. This column was originally published in the May 2010 edition of Manufacturing Automation.
Thank you, Paul.


Entrepreneur Thinking | Hero Worship

Comments (2) -

12/17/2011 12:39:49 PM #

"Passion doesn't fuel initiative; initiative fuels passion."

Eric Chester

7/4/2013 4:58:03 AM #

OES should grow and diversify. Thinking of ideas

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