Additive Manufacturing

NOV 2018

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.

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MFG ADVOCATE CATEGORY: I Industry Insight NOVEMBER 2018 Additive Manufacturing 12 To read more on AMT Advocacy, visit By Penelope Brown Director – Marketing & Communications AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology It's Spooky Season. What's Your Biggest Fear? When most of us are asked what our greatest fear is, we usually rattle off one of the obvious choices. Heights. Public speaking. Flying. Creepy-crawly things. (Personally, I don't much care for large flying insects. I don't really like balloons either, but we can talk about that some other day. I'm not saying it makes sense.) But what if I suggested that your greatest fear is probably something less obvious to you, but just as impactful nonetheless? That this fear might be subconsciously guiding your actions and decisions in ways that aren't even in your awareness? What I'm talking about, friends, is the fear of change. If there was anything blatantly apparent at IMTS 2018, it's that change is everywhere in our industry. Technologies, materials and processes are changing. The ways we use our smartphones and other devices are coming to even the biggest machines—think remote and voice-activated technologies. The way we hire, work and network with others is changing. There were more women on the show floor, and not just as "booth babes." There were more girls in the Student Summit, a sight that gives promise to the future workforce and shrinking the broad skills gap. But change hits us not just at the industry level, but at the company level too. Do you work somewhere that could have the slogan, "But That's How We've Always Done It™"? Are you guilty of delaying or even denying business process changes because of the potential impact you fear they'll have on you or the rest of your team? (Or when you finally made a change, have you scratched your head and wondered why it took you so long?) You are not alone. But the good news is it doesn't have to be that way. You can be a change agent in your organization if you foster a certain mindset, and are always willing to ask, "Why?" Keep the right attitude: Persistence pays, but so does some patience. Think of the Confucian virtue of ren. On its face, it means the good feeling you get from being altruistic, but it's much more than that. The Chinese character ren shows two curved lines leaning in on each other—a visual representation of skills and knowledge leaning together with beliefs and attitudes. You must be fully committed to seeing your change through, but success also depends on appointing others—especially those with high potential in your company—to take on the necessary chal- lenges and thereby evangelize them to the rest of the organiza- tion. You must remember to stay positive in the face of resistance, and you cannot do it alone; change doesn't happen in isolation. Pick your battles: You probably have one big overarching goal for the betterment of your company. (Example: "Improve the company culture.") Draw that up as your "umbrella." Underneath that, break it into the elements that make up that goal. (In this case, things like break down silos; improve transparency and communication; hire talent that fits the ideal culture; build in account- ability and trust; etc.) Then move down into the specifics that will help you meet those goals and set a plan for executing them. This is another great place to ask for some help from a mentor, trusted partner or those high- potential people you've asked to evangelize the change process. Reflect and repeat as necessary: It might become apparent that some of your efforts are trying to fit round pegs into square holes. Don't despair, and don't give up. You might need to keep going back to the prior steps for a while before getting it right. Some things might take more time or effort than you first envisioned. There will most certainly be friction from others in your organiza- tion. Build on your successes and keep your eyes on the prize. What are some of the areas of your business or even personal life that could use some change? It might be the season for ghosts and goblins, but there's no need to fear pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and into a space that can bring you more fulfillment, more joy and ultimately more success. Thoughts? Email me at

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