Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Birthday irony for NASA, our national archetype for effective teamwork and problem-solving

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, opened its doors October 1, 1958 following passage of founding legislation July 29, 1958. A successful Soviet launch had put a satellite, Sputnik, into low earth orbit. Our government leadership came together in bipartisan cooperation to say, NO, we will not be outdone. NASA's liftoff began a mission that carried all of us to the moon and beyond, where none had gone before. NASA changed the way we see the universe, the earth, our nation, and ourselves. NASA brought us essential paradigm shifts embodied in iconic images, Earthrise and Spaceship Earth. NASA produced great technological leaps. NASA continues to carry us all to new places and new insights, but not today and not for the immediate future, NASA is in limbo!

Earthrise, December 24, 1968, Apollo 8, 075:48:54 mission time. Image presented in correct mission orientation as seen by astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders, and Frank Borman orbiting the moon.
Sadly, 93% of NASA employees are furloughed today due to the United States Federal Government shutdown, a result of the failure of congress to work together, a consequence of poor leadership and poor teamwork allowing a small fraction of one party in one House to run away with the national agenda, a malicious effort to gain division and to distract the news cycle at the very moment all Americans, for the first time, have access to affordable health care, an achievement far more important than reaching the Moon.

Happy 55th Birthday NASA. 

Ironically, NASA taught us teamwork. NASA is our symbolic and our actual instrument for teamwork success in our greatest technological efforts.

Teamwork trainers tell us, and NASA showed us, that effective teamwork comes together in stages, simplified: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. All of these stages have value and contribute to a team effort to close in on goals. Today, Congress is held hostage by children unwilling to move beyond the Storming phase because they get attention. Parents recognize the terrible two's!

Childish barbarians have taken over Congress, let's put NASA in charge!

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