Boeing Frontiers
February 2003
Volume 01, Issue 09
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
My View

Let's be an 'and' company

Phil Condit
Chairman and CEO

Phil ConditAre we a commercial airplane company? A defense company? A space contractor? An integrator? An engineering-design company? A manufacturer? A provider of support services? A finance company?

The answer is "yes."

I mention this because I sometimes hear speculation phrased in exclusionary terms: that if we're broadening our business, we must be easing out of building commercial airplanes; that if we're moving aggressively toward a network-centric future, it must mean we no longer care about platforms; that if we need to reduce costs, we must be willing to sacrifice quality, integrity or the environment; that if we're going global, we must be abandoning our U.S. heritage; that if we want to improve customer satisfaction, make a reasonable profit and increase the value of our shares, we have to do it at the expense of the people who work at Boeing.

This tendency to define ourselves as part of an "either-or" world is far too limiting. I'd rather we think of ourselves in terms of "and"—as a broad-based, balanced aerospace company with many facets that add to our overall strength:

• We are both a commercial airplane and a defense-and-space company.
• We are both a prime integrator of network-centric systems and a builder of many of the platforms, or nodes, that are critical to those systems.
• We design, manufacture and support our products.
• We support and finance our own products as well as those built by others.
• Cost, quality, integrity and the environment are key to our competitiveness —especially in today's markets.
• Our people throughout the world— including but certainly not limited to citizens of the United States— hold the keys to our success.
• Our stakeholders—Boeing employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers and the communities in which we live and work— are all important to us.

It's natural to want to be able to define your role—where you fit into the company—very precisely. It can be confusing when you are expected to have more than one role and deliver on more than one priority.

But successful people and companies rise above their comfort zones. Today and for the foreseeable future, most of us carry out multiple roles and have to balance many priorities. The more we embrace that reality and turn it to our advantage, the better off we'll be as individuals, as members of our various teams, as business units and as a company.

Boeing already does a lot of different things, and we're looking to do even more. When we focus on new opportunities, we are building up those business areas we think will allow us to grow (and therefore sustain or add jobs). In the process of preparing for our future, I hope we never minimize the importance of what we are already doing— especially that which we are doing very well.

Look behind our network-centric focus, for example. The system-of-systems area opens up a whole new and exciting market for us. It also feeds the need for our platforms. It's pretty much impossible to have a network without nodes. In the process of gathering, transferring, synthesizing and presenting defense-related information, networked defense systems require sensors and platforms that detect threats, transport assets and destroy targets. While sensors and platforms are not the exclusive domain of Boeing, we certainly expect to continue producing many of them. On the commercial side, networked systems such as a new Air Traffic Management system can serve as enablers to airlines' growth—and lead to demand for more airplanes.

One of our fundamental values is people working together. One of our greatest competitive advantages is our capacity to do so. We at Boeing have unparalleled depth and breadth: We possess what amounts to a unique ability for any one of our businesses to help any or all of our other businesses.

We can do many amazing things.


Front Page
Contact Us | Site Map| Site Terms | Privacy | Copyright
© 2003 The Boeing Company. All rights reserved.