August 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 4 
Leadership Message

I like what I’m seeing and hearing at Boeing

Jim McNerney
Chairman, President and CEO

Jim McNerney and Alan Mulally talk with employees in the 777 final assembly area at the Everett, Wash., factory.I joined Boeing because this company has a big past and a bigger future—and because the work we do is exciting and important! After a month on the job, I’m even more energized about leading this company. That’s because as I visit various sites to see what the heart of Boeing is all about, I’m impressed with the energy, motivation and sincerity of the people; the quality of the work they do; and the results they are delivering for our customers and shareholders.

At all of these visits, two subjects inevitably come up:

• my leadership style and approach; and

• what’s important to me—as the company’s senior leader, as a manager, as a person, even as a father and a husband

While it’s never easy to talk about yourself, I’d like to use this month’s column in an attempt to explain who I am and how that defines my approach at Boeing.

I’m all about work and family—and that’s about it. My wife and I still have three children at home. Family and work are where I devote the vast majority of my time and energy. I’ve coached more than my share of baseball, hockey and soccer teams—and loved every minute of it!

As a father and as a manager, I’ve been pleased to see that, at Boeing, integrity is central to our daily activity. My philosophy on this is simple: Where ethics and integrity are concerned, there is no difference between the foundational standards you hold for yourself at home with your family, the standards you take into your community, and those same standards at work. As individuals and as a company, we earn our reputations every day, by every action we take.

What’s important to Jim

• Family and work

• Foundational values

• High expectations and tools to fulfill them

• Results-driven teamwork

• Growth—of both business and people








My style is to expect a lot from people—myself included. I believe a leader’s job is to help people find their potential; expecting less is a disservice. All of us at Boeing should expect a lot from each other. At the same time, it’s important that Boeing invest in the tools and processes to help all of us fulfill those high expectations. So concepts that Boeing people are already familiar with—lifelong learning and development, for instance—will remain high on our priority list.

Results-driven teamwork is important to me. We have all worked in situations where delivering your own, individual results was valued to the exclusion of everything else. We’ve also worked in situations where there was not as much value placed on individual accountability but where teaming and sharing was the key driver. I believe both are important. There’s nothing inconsistent about holding individuals accountable for their results while at the same time expecting them to team effectively with others. Great companies have a culture that embraces both—and I’ve seen early evidence of that culture at Boeing.

This company is doing well. I really appreciate the focus on business execution. But we can do better. I think we can sharpen our focus on both operating effectiveness and growth. There is no doubt our customers and competitors will demand improved execution every year—but we have a nice foundation to build from. Continuously improving business results is something we should always have a plan for.

People ask me if we’re going to grow organically or through acquisition. While it’s not an either-or proposition, and we always have to be looking at the right potential acquisitions to leverage our strengths, I first want to look at our ability to grow from within. Boeing is rich in resources, and we should always be asking ourselves the question of how we best deploy them. I believe the key to our success and growth is our ability to tap into the learning and apply the innovation that’s in all of our heads.

For the near term, I’m spending my time with Boeing employees, customers and partners; I’m listening, learning and diving into the issues. People here are a pretty bright bunch, and they generate a wealth of ideas. I like the focus I am seeing on providing value to our customers, delivering good business results to the company, and giving back to our communities. My job is to assimilate all I’m hearing and seeing; bring in my own thoughts and experiences; then articulate a clear, concise path forward.

I am honored—and very happy—to be part of this great company and to be working with such a talented team. I know we have a bright future together.

In the spirit of teamwork, I plan to ask other Boeing leaders to “guest host” this column on a regular basis. I’ll be back as a regular contributor, though. Meanwhile, watch this space!


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