Tuesday, July 5, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond or Bust?

If you are a space junkie like me, you are well aware that the final space shuttle mission is scheduled for launch Friday, July 8, 2011. So what is next for the space program?

This morning I clicked on a FedSmith.com article tickler titled "I've Never Seen NASA So Screwed Up" which linked to The Washington Post article "Final NASA Shuttle Mission Clouded by Rancor." The article debated whether or not NASA has clear vision--something many organizations experience during times of change and uncertainty.

This article fits nicely with my current work on an installment for the Leadership in Cinema program showcasing NASA and a breakdown in their safety culture. The PBS documentary Space Shuttle Disaster indicated that a lack of clear vision and trust were definite problems at NASA.

Read the article and watch the video and then consider your leadership and organization compared with NASA. Contemplate the following questions adapted from "Command Philosophy" in the Leading in the Wildland Fire Service.

  • Do you have a clear vision?
  • Have you translated that vision into clear leader's intent?
  • Do subordinate leaders who are at the scene of action understand the current situation better than does a senior commander some distance removed?
  • As a fire leader, do you continually work to achieve coordination and cooperation among all forces toward a commonly understood objective?
  • Do you subscribe to unity of effort?
  • Do you avoid mixed messages or countermanding directives?
  • Do you work together across jurisdictional lines to find common ground and act in the best interest of those responding to the incident, the public, and our natural resources?
  • Do you employ multiple leadership skills to influence decisions, forge effective relationships, facilitate cooperative efforts, and ensure that objectives are achieved?

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