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“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
–Ken Blanchard

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a quiet week.

The team and I are so close to the desired outcome – an approved strategy – that it is time to initiate Stage 5 in the lifecycle of a team: regeneration.  For the team, it is the ending of one phase and the starting of the next under new leadership.  For me, it is a time for reflection, to capture lessons learned, to celebrate (yay!), and to prepare for the transition to something new.  (See The Lifecycle.)

It has been my honor to work with this team for the last eight months.  We worked hard to achieve a strategy for our part of NASA’s mission operations that provides the best overall value to the Government in terms of maintaining safety, technical performance, and schedule while reducing costs to the American taxpayer. It was extremely important to me that the team arrive at a well thought-through outcome that all on the team would feel committed to implementing and that each of the members could live with. As the leader, I needed to balance all perspectives, ensure alignment of the team with the common goal, build the external coalitions and partnerships necessary to ensure success, and guide the team to the desired outcome in due course.

So, how did I do?

Since returning to Houston after completing NASA’s leadership development program two years ago, I have been striving to further develop my leadership abilities.  Specifically, I have been targeting my openness, sharing of myself, and transparency.  Leading this team gave me the opportunity to try, observe and reflect, and try again.  As the first step in Stage 5, I asked the team for feedback on how I did via an anonymous survey.

This is the feedback I received from the six members of the team, based upon a set of questions I provided.

1. How much did I push a particular agenda that was not in keeping with our shared goal? (5 – very little   1 –  very much)

  • 5 – 4 votes      66.67 %
  • 4 – 1 vote        16.67 %
  • 2 – 1 vote        16.67 %

2. How well did I facilitate others “catching up” so all could see the same vision? (5 – very well  1 – very poorly)

  • 5 – 4 votes      66.67 %
  • 4 – 1 vote      16.67 %
  • 3 – 1 vote       16.67 %

3. How well did I listen and not disengage, even when others didn’t see things the way I do? (5 – very well  1 – very poorly)

  • 5 – 3 votes     50.00 %
  • 4 – 3 votes     50.00 %

4.  How well did I handle feedback and critiquing of my own product; not getting defensive and saying, “you just don’t understand”? (5 – very well  1 – very poorly)

  • 5 – 4 votes      66.67 %
  • 4 – 1 vote        16.67 %
  • 2 – 1  vote       16.67 %

5. How much patience in process did I demonstrate? (5 – very much  1 – very little)

  • 5 – 4 votes      66.67 %
  • 4 – 1 vote        16.67 %
  • 3 – 1 vote        16.67 %

6. How well did I share my motivations and reasoning, thus giving transparency to my values? (5 – very well  1 – very little)

  • 5 – 4 votes      66.67 %
  • 3 – 1 vote        16.67 %
  • 2 – 1 vote        16.67 %

I was touched that the majority of the team members thought so highly of my performance in each of the areas.  That affirms for me that I’m on the right track.  Part of me notes the 3 and 2 votes (no 1’s, at least!) and says, “I still have room for improvement”; a small part of me says “you can’t please everybody all of the time.”

Frankly, I’ll take these scores along with an approved strategy any day of the week.

In the big picture, we achieved our intended outcome as a team.  I developed further as a leader.  I’m leaving behind a true team ready to implement the strategy we built together under different leadership.  It’s a win-win-win.

As for my immediate future, I’ll be in Stage 5 for a number of weeks.  I’ve been compiling a set of lessons learned which I’ll be using in debriefs in the coming weeks.  I’ve written a lot of blog entries over the last eight months, so I have plenty of material to review and assess for my next developments in leadership.  Meanwhile, along with the rest of the space community, I’ll be awaiting the results and impacts from the Augustine Committee, the outcome of which may be a factor in determining my next assignment.  That will come in due course.  Right now…

Party!

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