Our daughter, Katy, turns 16 next month, so she’s practicing her driving any chance she gets. As I sit in the passenger seat, I find myself—probably more often than I’d like—sweating, gritting my teeth, and pushing my foot against the floorboard (trying to hit the brakes that aren’t there!). For me, giving up control is hard. It would be easier and more comfortable to just do the driving myself…but then I consider all the benefits of having a third driver, especially for those times when each of our 3 kids are in separate places; and I recognize my responsibility for preparing her for more and more freedom that—whether I like it or not—will inevitably come. So, I continue to hand her the keys and enter on the passenger side…
I find that issue of control—much like that of parents teaching kids to drive—is prevalent at NASA. Underlying messages like, “We can do it best here. Just leave us alone. They won’t take care of business the way we do. They don’t understand.” All the “theys” we speak about are often other NASA team members. Again, giving up control is hard, but now, more than ever, we need to solve big challenges as a team and recognize that “together, everyone achieves more.”
That’s why I like to say “Everyone Contributes…Mission Success Takes a Team.”
To learn more, check out my summary of A Team of Leaders: Empowering Every Member to Take Ownership, Demonstrate Initiative, and Deliver Results by Paul Gustavson & Stewart Liff. Click here to continue.