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How to become a credible telecomm manager.

Karl Kuhn is one of my favorite people. He's a bright and committed guy.

Karl is the manager of network operations for Pratt & Whitney, the giant jet engine manufacturer. In that highly competitive industry, real-time communications is a must

But just a few short years ago, communication was a problem at Pratt & Whitney.

Over the years various departments throughout the company acquired fax machines. Instead of making communication easier, the machines actually made it more difficult.

Each department purchased its machine independently. Some purchased Group I machines, others purchased Group II. A Group I machine couldn't talk to a Group II machine.

That meant Pratt & Whitney's field production people and its engineers often couldn't fax diagrams back and forth.

The apparent solution was simple--convert everyone to the same fax system: Group III. That solution was quickly dismissed as costly and risky. At the time, Group III technology was too new. Few large corporations had installed such a system.

Karl Kuhn took a proactive, entrepreneurial approach to the problem. He met with field reps, engineers, and production workers to identify just what they needed in a communications system.

With that input he went out into the marketplace to talk to vendors. Having done his research, it became clear to Karl that Group III machines were really the simplest and best answer. Then he sold the engineers and field people on the idea of converting.

Karl put together his facts and figures, and with support from the field, presented a strong business case to management for the fax conversion. His presentation highlighted the advantages.

He explained the alternatives, but stressed the greater efficiency and potential savings the company could expect from conversion to Group III.

Management listened.

Soon Group III machines were installed throughout Pratt & Whitney. Intercompany communication was vastly improved. This success helped Karl Kuhn earn his credibility stripes.

Later on, when he proposed message switching and teleconferencing, senior management listened. And, when he proposed introducing teleconferencing to an Asian customer, he got the green light there as well.

Like Karl Kuhn, you must apply your technical expertise to company problems and then make a business case for telecomm solutions.

To become a credible telecomm manager, you must develop a vision of where your company is going, and how telecomm can help it get there.

Your ultimate goal should be to position your telecomm department firmly in the mainstream of company policy-making so it can make a bottom-line difference.

Like Karl Kuhn and his Group III machines, your telecomm department can and should produce results, not just technology; solutions, not just systems.

I've tried to show you how successful managers have applied my proven entrepreneurial principles--value-added thinking, employee liberation, partnering, bootstrapping, and working smartest--to expand their influence and develop credibility.

You can use these same principles in your company. You can make a difference--just like Karl Kuhn, Gus Bender, Larry McCullough, and other successful telecomm managers who have been featured in this column.

All it really takes is motivation.

I hope you have enjoyed my column. My goal over the past year has been to help you fully develop your unique talents and abilities. I hope you will continue to share your success stories with me. Keep in touch.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Entrepreneurial Telecommunications; telecommunications
Author:Jewett, Jim
Publication:Communications News
Date:Sep 1, 1991
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