Saturday, October 27, 2007

Industrial Engineer - Joe Forehand - CEO and Chairman - Accenture

It is interesting to know that Joe Forehand with BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering and MS in Industrial Administration joined Anderson in 1972 and became its CEO and Chairman of Board of Directors. He retired from the board in 2006.

It is fitting that he mentioned about human performance improvement as well as satisfaction of associates in his various interviews, the twin focus areas of an industrial engineer.

Some excerpts about his work

Forehand has focused on getting all 75,000 of his employees to center their jobs around three imperatives: bold growth, creation of a great place to work, and operating efficiency.

Bold growth, he said, means not just following the rules of the industry - it means writing them. Forehand wanted to get employees thinking about ways to move beyond consulting through its growing network of businesses - a network that enhances Accenture's consulting and outsourcing expertise through alliances, affiliated companies, and other capabilities. Today, the company is focused on delivering innovation.

To improve the work environment, Forehand established a new dialogue with his employees to provide compelling initiatives and rewards, allow for flexibility, and ensure a diverse workforce. Forehand's reputation for approachability encouraged his employees to express their feelings candidly without fear. "Part of being a leader is to be approachable and inclusive," he explained. "You need to be someone the people can trust and connect with."

And finally, to improve operating efficiency, the company measures its success carefully. "You get what you measure," he says. For instance, he explained, retention is not a satisfactory measurement of whether a company is capturing and maintaining the best and brightest people. It merely measures whether the company is keeping the people it has. Truly measuring satisfaction, aptitude, and performance takes an investment in time and effort, but it pays off. If a company has the best and the brightest and keeps them happy, they will perform well, and the company will perform well.

For additional reading

A sketch of Joe Forehand

Interview with forehand 2002

Interview with Forehand 2001

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