As I wrote in my previous blog entry, I was dealing with an eleventh hour issue prior to the formal review of my team’s strategic plan for NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy lab and Space Vehicle Mockup building. The issue was handled at the last minute by my team’s attorney, who walked special paperwork around for signatures to resolve the issue.
Between buildings in 100 degree heat.
It’s a crazy world we live in, reinforced by an event at the start of the formal review on Friday. My support team showed up with a new guide and said, “It’s the new format from Headquarters for your report. It was approved in May, but we just received it this morning. This is the format they are expecting.”
Did I mention crazy?
So, what is my leadership perspective on all of this? I recall a quote from former NASA Associate Administrator Scott Pace during my time at NASA Headquarters: “Some things are secrets, and some things are mysteries.” I also recall another one from my Dad, who always said this while I was growing up: “Don’t sweat the petty stuff.” (His expression was more colorful but you get the idea.) Sure, I could have chosen to go ballistic over all the crazy eleventh hour stuff, but what would have resulted from it? Higher blood pressure for me, and little else. A few days ago another attorney remarked to me, “You are so calm, cool, and understanding of all this.” That is the ideal compliment at this time, because that tells me that what I intend on projecting is being received. I even joked with my deputy: “Hey, if this eleventh hour craziness causes a delay, look on the bright side – we can take the afternoon off and go drinking.” She added, “on the golf course.”
Now, isn’t that a great deputy?
The review itself went without a hitch and we will continue with more formal reviews of my team’s strategic plan. And I’m sure we will encounter other crazy events as we go forward. I expect it, and I will continue to handle each one as I have handled the ones so far – cool and collected. I’ll save the craziness for the celebratory party afterwards!