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NASA Internal Memo: Leadership Initiative to Continue at LaRC

Status Report From: Langley Research Center
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2005

To: (All Employees at Langley Research Center)
From: Luther Jenkins Luther.N.Jenkins@nasa.gov
Subject: Leadership Initiative to Continue at LaRC
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005 16:38:16 -0400

Dear Colleagues,

Although the Agency has decided to phase out the involvement of the consultant Behavior Sciences Technology (BST) in NASA leadership development activities, the culture change effort and focus on improving our leadership practices at Langley will continue.

The initiative flows from the findings in the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) and Diaz reports on the NASA culture and safety and mission success. The initiative, started in February 2004, is intended to analyze our culture, maintain its strengths, and make improvements where necessary. NASA hired BST to help with understanding and enhancing our culture.

As you know, the pressures on Langley to change are great and the issues facing our Center require strong leadership. Our Center Director remains committed to the course taken by Langley prior to BST's involvement.

For the past year and a half, Langley has been aggressively pursuing culture change efforts as part of its Kick Start activities. These efforts included the establishment of a Culture Change Team by the Center Director and chaired by the Deputy Director to look at values, leadership, communication, learning, and being customer-focused for mission success. This effort ran in parallel with the Center reorganization and the Phase I implementation of the Agency/BST Culture Enhancement Initiative. The Culture Change Team recommended actions based on employee surveys, focus groups, Safety Mission and Success Week activities, the CAIB and Diaz reports, and prior Langley culture surveys. The overwhelming theme from all of these inputs identified leadership as key driver for successful culture change.

Prior to the Phase 2 implementation of the BST Culture Change Plan, Langley had established a plan to address its leadership through a framework designed to enhance and develop leadership skills. This plan aligned very well with BST's proposed approach to NASA. Langley sought to leverage BST's tools for enhancing leadership skills for cultural improvement and mission success. Activities to date have laid the groundwork for a continual process for leadership enhancement and development. We are now at the crucial point of the plan of engaging the newly selected leaders at Langley (i.e. branch heads and project managers) and intend to do so over the next several months.

Sincerely,

Luther Jenkins
Noel Talcott Langley Points of Contact for the Agency Culture Enhancement Initiative

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