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President's Message

Empowering the Year Ahead

This issue of Springs, “Employee Engagement,” is timely, as many of us have begun our planning process for 2017. When you start to plan for the upcoming year, do you take the time to look objectively at what is working well and where you have opportunities to improve? One of the most important aspects of improvement is creating a close-knit team of doers whose goals are aligned to achieve success. This begs the question of how to best empower our employees.

The answer may surprise you.

Peter DeMarco, an empowerment professional, was asked the question, “My boss says I need to empower my people to make decisions. What is the right way to empower others?” His answer, in a word: “Don’t.”

Peter Drucker once quipped of empowerment: “That’s an obscene word.” He stated further, “The term empowerment, while well intentioned, is imprecise, incomplete and tends to do more harm than good.” Instead of empowering employees to make certain decisions or do certain things, Drucker encouraged leaders to give their employees responsibility to do so.

Like you, I am excited to read the articles in this issue on how to empower our employees.

Our 2017 SMI Annual Convention this spring will be held at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island in Florida from March 31 to April 4.

While together on Amelia Island, nothing could be more empowering than learning about our new Dream It. Do It. (DIDI) program that SMI has adopted and getting involved with our new DIDI Ambassadors program. With more than a dozen SMI member companies now participating in Manufacturing Day events, our DIDI ambassadors will hold strategy discussions with representatives of the National American Manufacturers Association (NAM) to learn how SMI members can get the most out of the Manufacturing Day program.

Dream It. Do It. is designed to connect our businesses with students who will become the next generation of talented workers. By becoming a DIDI ambassador you can make a difference at your company and in your community. If you are interested, please connect with me at

We will also be updating our progress toward filling our technologist position at SMI.

Our convention education program will feature several exciting speakers, one of which will deliver a game-changing talk for couples titled, “Great Minds Think Unalike.” This presentation will look at Gender Intelligence®, which is the understanding of the naturally-occurring characteristics that distinguish attitudinal and behavioral differences between men and women.

In closing, many folks have asked about the SMI Metal Engineering eXpo that will be held in Hartford, Connecticut from Oct. 3 to 5, 2017. SMI is holding the eXpo in partnership with our friends at the New England Spring Manufacturers Association (NESMA). Our event will offer one of the best spring industry education platforms ever. To learn more, visit our eXpo website at

On behalf of the SMI board and staff, we look forward to visiting with you at our annual convention on Amelia Island and at the SMI Metal Engineering eXpo.

All the best!

Mike Betts

Spring Manufacturers Institute, Inc.

2001 Midwest Road, Suite 106. | Oak Brook, Illinois 60523-1335 USA | Phone (630) 495-8588 | Fax (630) 495-8595