About a year ago I read a blog post from Ben Horowitz, cofounder and General Partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, entitled “Peacetime CEO/Wartime CEO.” The basic idea proposed by Horowitz is that an organization in peacetime has a large advantage versus the competition in its core market, and an organization in wartime is fending off an imminent existential threat; in both cases, there is a best-suited style of leadership for each. I’ve thought repeatedly about the topic since I first read the post, and wonder: is the key challenge we face in moving ahead in human spaceflight one of having the wrong kind of political and executive leadership in place right now?
Late last week, the leadership team at the NASA Johnson Space Center released the 2012 NASA-JSC Strategic Implementation Plan. The Plan ties to the Agency-level strategic plan released last year and focuses on JSC’s strength: leading human space exploration. In the coming weeks we’ll be discussing internally how our respective organizations will work to reach those goals.
The last piece is for each of us to examine our respective roles in implementing this plan. So, to that end, I’m going to do a very public examination of my current role at NASA-JSC and how it fits into the Plan, for the whole world to see. (Well, at least that tiny sliver of the world that reads this blog.) First, the Plan: