Sunday, October 16, 2011

How late can we celebrate?

On 26 September 2011, Boeing delivered the first 787 Dreamliner to airline ANA after a three year delay. The aircraft is a technological achievement unmatched in aerospace and will create a customer flying experience like no other. The event was celebrated.

The 911 Memorial officially opened on 11 September 2011 after ten years of debate, design, coordination and construction. “The Memorial is a national tribute of remembrance and honor to the 2,983 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993.” The event was celebrated.
This weekend, an international team under my leadership achieved an aerospace manufacturing milestone of large implication, significance and meaning. While the project concluded one year late, it has the potential to change the face of aero-structure assembly for years to come. The event was celebrated locally with no fanfare or drama.

Should a significant accomplishment be celebrated in the same way whether on time or significantly late?


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Artificial Barriers

One of the occupational consequences of working international projects is an abundance of long flight hours with time to kill. Once all the possible staff-work is complete and I’ve read as much as possible, the airline movie marathon starts. I categorize movies based on if I’d be willing to pay to see them at a theater, willing to pay to Netflix them, willing to watch them for free on a plane and last, movies I cannot even to watch for free. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by a movie I’ve never heard of.

“Cold Souls” (2009) starring Paul Giamatti was very odd and a nice surprise. An interesting scene in the movie involved a doctor explaining to Giamatti the concept of tying a young circus elephant’s ankle to a tent spike to stop them from wondering off. When young, the spike is strong enough to stop the elephant. The elephant “learns” that they cannot over-take the constraint. As the elephant grows bigger and stronger, they never question the power of the constraint. Of course the spike is no match for the large elephant, but they never try to over-power it.

This made me wonder what constraints we artificially apply to ourselves and/or what barriers our people believe that really do not exist. How often have you heard “we have never done it that way” or “this will never work?”

What artificial constraints can you remove for your people? What items can you fix that have really bothered the teams reporting to you?


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