Which ‘type’ are you? Gene Kranz? Or that Grumman guy?
Apollo 13. Love that movie. I watch it so often that my wife and kids no longer moan when it’s on.
As Americans…as humans…it really was of our finest hours. The tragic events unfolding in space were matched in magnitude only by the ingenuity of those on the ground. That those astronauts faced so much peril–one crisis after another after another–yet returned alive, is testimony to the other-worldly will and brilliance of NASA scientists and administrators.
It should remind us of what’s possible when we’re focused on a single goal, and when we work together. It should come as no surprise that organizations with a culture of cooperation accomplish more than their less-cohesive counterparts–i.e., those in which chaos looms more ubiquitous than the oxygen-sucking vacuum of space.
BACK TO THE MOVIE. It was a great cast having the opportunity to play real heroes. See if you remember them. And, while you’re at it, think about yourself…which character best represents you…and which represent your colleagues.
Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), the level-headed commander…John Aaron (Loren Dean)–low-key and dependable…instrumental in not only saving the lives of the crew of Apollo 13, but saving the lives of the Apollo 12 astronauts some months earlier as well.
Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise), hugely disappointed in losing his seat to Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon), but who, as a true team player, came to their aid with the power-up procedures while inventing a process to get the crew more power…Gene Kranz (Ed Harris), the unflappable flight director, famous for the line, “Failure is not an option.” (Tip: Read his 2000 autobiography of the same title.) Another great line, “Work the problem, people. Let’s not make things worse by guessing!”
How about Ron Howard’s brother, Clint? You know who I’m talking about–the guy whose only acting jobs came through his famous director sibling…Or, that smarmy Grumman guy (Kenneth White), the lunar excursion module engineer afraid of losing his job.
You’ve worked with all these types. Some folks are team players. Others are in it for themselves. Some put aside their feelings or their agendas for the good of the team. Others won’t take a step before assessing how it affects them, personally or professionally.
If your organization has more of the former, good for you. The sky’s the limit. If it has more of the latter, I’ll bet it’s less fun.
Ergo, the poll. Which person are you?