February 2005 
Volume 03, Issue 9 
Straight Talk

2005's main goal: 'Executing on the business we have'

Boeing Frontiers caught up with Boeing Chairman Lew Platt and President and CEO Harry Stonecipher at the recent annual Boeing Leadership Meeting. They shared their thoughts on numerous topics including the company's goals and challenges for 2005, the Code of Conduct and the values mentioned in the Vision 2016 mission statement.

Harry StonecipherQ: Senior leaders have just returned from the 2005 Boeing Leadership Meeting, where you shared your direction for 2005. What are the main goals and priorities for employees in 2005?

Stonecipher: I think we have many of the same goals we had this time last year. The most important one for most employees is executing on the business that we already have. We have a good book of business, and it's very important that people stay focused on executing, as they did so well in 2004.

I think there are some areas where we can do a lot better-particularly in the sales arena. I've been trying to energize all of our people to look a little further out in terms of what we might do to boost sales. For instance, let's think about the campaigns a little earlier than we do now; and let's use all the resources available-especially Tom Pickering's International Relations team-to help us with detailed customer knowledge and focus. And, of course, we really want to maintain the emphasis on ethics and integrity, really enhance our training in that area and be sure we keep emphasizing how important these are to the company. Those are the big ones that affect everybody. I expect others will flow through the system as the need arises.

Platt: The board met in December to give Harry some feedback on 2004 performance and also give him some goals for 2005. And they are consistent with what Harry just said:

. Continue execution on all the businesses.
. Enhance the selling process and make sure that we are really engaged-deeply engaged-with our customers, even with those people who may not be buying something in the short term.
. Keep up the emphasis on ethics.

Q: A major theme at the Leadership Meeting was the move to common systems and processes across the enterprise. What does having common systems and processes mean to the company and each employee?

Stonecipher: Common systems is something we were talking about in 1997 when we merged Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. We've been talking about it ever since, and there were always all kinds of excuses why we couldn't do it.

I think that now, a lot of smart people have taken a close look at it and found there's some real gold to be mined here. Common systems is an opportunity to do things better, just like many of the things in the Lean area have done for our businesses. Like all the improvements Boeing Commercial Airplanes has made over the last four years, this is another improvement. I think that once all the team recognizes how much easier our jobs will be, how much reliability we can have in all the data that we're passing around, and how much money we'll save, everybody will come on line and it'll be a great thing for the company.

Ask Harry

Got a question you'd like answered or a topic you'd like Harry to discuss in an upcoming Straight Talk? E-mail your suggestions to BoeingFrontiers@boeing.com






Q: What do you see as Boeing's top challenges in 2005?

Stonecipher: I think in 2005 the biggest challenge is going to be continuing to gain momentum on the 7E7-bringing in those 7E7 orders, finalizing the agreements to buy. And, of course, crisp execution on all of our businesses is really, really important and always challenging.

Q: Integrated Defense Systems is focusing on providing network-centric operations for its military customers, and Commercial Airplanes is providing airplanes designed for point-to-point routes. Are these strategies right? Are they working for us?

Stonecipher: We believe they are. The IDS people have really garnered a lot of military orders. We have a number of businesses that were very small three years ago and are quite large now, and that's particularly true in the space and intelligence area. I'm very happy with that. I think the Commercial Airplanes people also have the right strategy. We keep looking at it all the time; we still think it's point-to-point. People really want to go where they want to go, when they want to go, and they want to go there without passing through A, B, C or D.

Q: Can Boeing maintain its steady defense business growth?

Stonecipher: We're well positioned to stay on a growth track in defense, but I think the overarching issue is at what level defense procurement budgets will be in the United States and around the world. We're already seeing evidence there are going to be reductions in 2006 and beyond. We'll have to deal with that. But we're well positioned, so a lot of the businesses that we are in will continue to do very well. We've always known there would come a time when the defense budget would go flat or at least slow in growth, maybe even go down.

Q: Has there been any change to the eight company values listed in Vision 2016, the mission statement for Boeing?

Stonecipher: I had quite a discussion about those at the Boeing Leadership Center not too long ago. I've spent some time looking at them, and I still like them a lot [Vision 2016 is listed in its entirety at right]. I think they're very germane to what we are trying to do and germane to the type of company we want to have. Some people find it hard to remember all eight, so I like to say that if you can remember only one, practice "integrity," and the rest will follow naturally.

Platt: I think those values really are pretty timeless. If you look at them carefully, there's nothing that screams out 2004 or 2005 or any other year. If you can follow those values over the long haul, you really gain a lot as a company by having this solid foundation that everything is built on.

Lew PlattVISION 2016

People working together as a global enterprise for aerospace leadership


Run healthy core businesses

Leverage strengths into new products and services

Open new frontiers

Core competencies

Detailed customer knowledge and focus
We will seek to understand, anticipate and be responsive to our customers' needs.

Large-scale systems integration
We will continuously develop, advance and protect the technical excellence that allows us to integrate effectively the systems we design and produce.

Lean enterprise
Our entire enterprise will be a lean operation, characterized by the efficient use of assets, high inventory turns, excellent supplier management, short cycle times, high quality and low transaction costs.


We will be a world-class leader in every aspect of our business in developing our team-leadership skills at every level; in our management performance; in the way we design, build and support our products; and in our financial results.

We will always take the high road by practicing the highest ethical standards and by honoring our commitments. We will take personal responsibility for our actions, and treat everyone fairly with trust and respect.

We will strive for continuous quality improvement in all that we do so that we will rank among the world's premier industrial firms in customer, employee and community satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction
Satisfied customers are essential to our success. We will achieve total customer satisfaction by understanding what the customer wants and delivering it flawlessly.

People working together
We recognize our strength and our competitive advantage is and always will be people. We will continually learn and share ideas and knowledge. We will encourage cooperative efforts at every level and across all activities in our company.

A diverse and involved team
We value the skills, strengths and perspectives of our diverse team. We will foster a participatory workplace that enables people to get involved in making decisions about their work that advance our common business objectives.

Good corporate citizenship
We will provide a safe workplace and protect the environment. We will promote the health and well-being of Boeing people and their families. We will work with our communities by volunteering and financially supporting education and other worthy causes.

Enhancing shareholder value
Our business must produce profit, and we must generate superior returns on the assets entrusted to us by our shareholders. We will ensure our success by satisfying our customers and increasing shareholder value.






Q: Why are we signing the Boeing Code of Conduct again?

Stonecipher: We want to do it every year to remind ourselves that, "Hey, we're going to count on each other." And we want to be sure that people take a few minutes to refresh themselves and say, "Yes, I understand it." Lew and I signed ours on Jan. 5.

During the Boeing Leadership Meeting, we heard from guest speaker Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric. He and the people at GE sign their own code of conduct every year. When I went to GE in 1960, I started signing then, and I signed every year while I was working there. Reiterating your commitment to a company's code of conduct is a process, that's all-one that's a best practice.

Q: Is Boeing innovative enough? Is Boeing agile enough?

Platt: I think Boeing actually is quite innovative and pretty agile for a company its size. Having said that, are we agile enough? Are we innovative enough? I hope we never say "yes" to either question, because it would say that we're totally satisfied with where we are. And I think when we don't keep pushing to become even more innovative or even more agile, that'll be a sad day.

Stonecipher: I totally agree with Lew. If you look at the businesses we're in today, we weren't even in some of those businesses to any extent two, three or four years ago. The strategy that was developed back in 1996 and 1997 was to make Boeing a broad-based aerospace company, broader than just air platforms. Suddenly the network-centric concept has taken hold, and we're a big player there. That's proof that we have been quite agile.

Another example: The folks in BCA have really studied their airplane very carefully. As just about everyone knows, we thought we were going to have a sonic cruiser aircraft. But to BCA's credit, they saw the market shifting and said, "Wait a minute. This is not the right thing to do." And so they did the right thing, and the right thing is the 7E7. I think that's pretty agile thinking, and I'm quite proud of them. It's the same with the Connexion folks: They're moving ahead with a new business, and every day, more and more airplanes are being converted. Now, we've got a long way to go. But that's the concept of these new businesses.

Q: Lew, what would the Board of Directors like to say to Boeing employees?

Platt: Representing the board, I'd like to say "thank you" to employees for the really hard work and the great results in 2004. The board fully recognizes it was a difficult year, with lots of distractions. We're very happy that people were able to keep focused on getting the job done and that they turned in such great results. It's hard not to be happy with the financial performance of the company, with the intense focus on execution and meeting commitments. People really did a great job in 2004 in that area. We also made major progress in addressing the ethics issues that were discovered in 2003. I think everybody really got on board and understood just what's at stake, and I think we went through 2004 with a whole different mindset about ethics.

Obviously, all of those things are important to continue in 2005. This year we're also placing more emphasis around sales and marketing. We're still being outsold by Airbus, and we need to mobilize all the resources in the company-whether it's Harry or me or [Commercial Airplanes President and CEO] Alan Mulally or [Integrated Defense Systems President and CEO] Jim Albaugh-to start building long-term relationships with customers.

So all in all, the board is very happy with the results of 2004, very happy with what employees did to help make that happen. And 2005 is really more of a continuation of 2004 than it is a whole new agenda.

Stonecipher: I appreciate Lew's comments and echo his thoughts. We've got a good plan going forward in 2005, and the long-range business plan looks great. We'll have to take into consideration what's going on in the military and defense budgets right now, but I think even with that, we're going to have a great plan.

Q: Anything else you'd like to add?

Stonecipher: I'd like to recognize and thank the people of Boeing for their generosity and commitment not only to their own communities, but to the world community, too. Many, many people volunteer their time and talents or contribute money to various community and charitable organizations throughout the year. They also respond generously to calls for disaster relief wherever it is needed. [Editor's note: Within a month after the tsunami hit Southeast Asia, employees and retirees had made personal contributions- through the Employees Community Fund-totaling more than $1 million toward helping the survivors recover.] Boeing is matching employees' tsunami-relief contributions to the ECF dollar for dollar and eligible retirees' contributions 50 cents on the dollar through Feb. 28. When all is said and done, the total of Boeing and employee-and-retiree donations to tsunami relief likely will exceed $3 million.


Front Page
Contact Us | Site Map| Site Terms | Privacy | Copyright
Copyright© Boeing. All rights reserved.