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AMM Comment: Seven habits of highly successful metal execs

Keywords: Tags  AMM Comment, Steel Hall of Fame, Aluminum Hall of Fame, John Ambrosia

At AMM, we’re going to be full of stars in the coming weeks as we induct the newest members of our Steel Hall of Fame and present awards for excellence to industry leaders in aluminum and steel. In this issue, we profile the latest Steel Hall of Fame inductees, as well as the finalists for our aluminum and steel awards.

When all is said and done, we will honor about two dozen organizations and individuals between now and late June. That got me thinking about the traits that successful people in the metals sector share. With apologies to the best-selling book, here are seven habits of highly successful metal executives:

• They listen . . . to their customers, to their employees, to their own instincts. Whether it is to develop a new process, expand or build a plant, send a new product to market or improve service, these leaders are responsive to the needs of existing or potential customers.

• They take risks . . . not reckless risks or risk for risk’s sake, but calculated ones. Leaders take smart chances on an idea or a new market or process that makes sense and could pay off handsomely.

• They’re community-minded. Some communities are gung-ho for growth, while others are more reticent due to environmental or local economic concerns. But the best leaders take all of that into account and try to accommodate those needs as much as possible because it’s not only good citizenship but also good business practice.

• They’re decisive. Making a move sometimes calls for an investment of money, manpower or other resources; sometimes it means taking a big risk. Either way, successful leaders have the vision to move forward when they believe they are doing the right thing for the company.

• They find markets. To be able to successfully meet existing market demand is its own skill. But to be able to detect where the market is going or find an unexploited niche is even more special.

• They invest. Whether in equipment, manpower or other areas, leaders who succeed aren’t afraid to spend a little to make a little. Without this, many tremendous ideas would be left on the drafting table and the industry as a whole would become stagnant.

• They innovate. Executives are constantly looking for new ways to do business, and the outcome of that process often leads to breakthroughs across companies and industries. 

If you haven’t already made plans to be at the second annual Aluminum Summit June 11-13—which includes an aluminum awards luncheon June 12—and at the Steel Success Strategies XXVII conference June 18-20 (and the steel awards dinner June 19), there is still time to do so. Visit for details.

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