Boeing Frontiers
July 2003
Volume 02, Issue 03
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
Main Feature

Most will never reach such legendary status, or even cross direct paths with such legends. But we see leaders every day, whether at work, home or in the mirror. Leadership, simply defined as the capacity or ability of anyone to lead others, is at all levels and all skill sets. In other words, it's not about being famous.

Phil Condit, chairman and CEO of Boeing, says leadership "is having the vision to see beyond where you are today. Leadership is about people and how you can best combine their efforts to produce a valuable result."

Typically, we see leaders like Curt Haney, a Boeing Phantom Works manager who uses innovative techniques to lead teams to build complicated prototype hardware. Or Bill Grant of Boeing Aerospace Support, who opened up communications among a fractured team, which resulted in a highly motivated group that received top honors for perfomance excellence. Or Meg Renton, Boeing Japanese Programs Director, who pushes the boundaries each day to meet customer needs and leads with the philosophy to constantly challenge the "can't dos."

In the following pages, Boeing Frontiers takes a look a few extraordinary leaders at Boeing and the efforts the company is making to help others achieve leadership skills. Our hope is readers will benefit from this section and perhaps find new ways to apply the "working together" philosophy to their daily leadership practice.


Leadership is my favorite subject. I feel I know a little bit about leadership—some from watching, some from doing.

To me, there are three critical elements to leadership: passion, ownership and skills. The first two I consider the most important.



RECOGNIZING OPPORTUNITIESAlan Kay, the father of the modern laptop computer, once wrote, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." Employees at the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Fabrication Division in Auburn, Wash., went one step further.

Finding themselves in the midst of consolidation and contraction, they made the future a place in which they, their families and their community could thrive.




SHUFFLING THE DECKThe phone rang for what must have been the 10th or 12th time, interrupting Scott Carson's train of thought. The Connexion by Boeing president knew the voice on the other end would belong to his sales director, Stan Deal, as it had with the previous calls.

"What's your recommendation?" Carson asked. Deal was quiet for a moment. Hard as it was to walk away from a proposed venture involving the nation's three largest airlines, Deal couldn't avoid it. "We have to let them go."



FILLING IN THE PUZZLEOn a tabletop, a few doors down from Curt Haney's office in Seattle, lies a half-finished jigsaw puzzle of Monticello, the home and architectural masterpiece of Thomas Jefferson, the United States' third president. The border is complete, but the inside pieces—showing flecks of blue Virginia sky, green shade trees and red brick—have yet to be put together.

Haney, a Boeing Phantom Works manager who works across business units, disciplines and time zones to form and lead teams that are very successful at building prototype hardware, said the puzzle is a great metaphor for leadership.



TOP DOWN, BOTTOM UPThe contract was substantial—$508 million; the project monumental—install explosive detection systems at the United States' 429 commercial airports and train more than 25,000 baggage screeners; and the deadline unimaginable—complete it by Dec. 31, 2002, less than six months.

The project required a massive effort by Boeing and its subcontractors. Starting with a core of 100 people, the Boeing team grew to more than 30,000, from executives to electricians, by December. The final tally on airports was 443 from Alaska to Saipan.



CHALLENGING 'CAN'T DOS'Faced with the re-direction of a mid-1990s NASA requirement for human space flight hardware to promote offset trade, a Boeing team went to the other end of the contracting spectrum and landed a pioneering deal based on commercial practices.

In the process the team, part of Integrated Defense Systems's NASA Systems group, transformed an organization designed for doing business with a massive U.S. government agency into a nimble, global and largely "virtual" team. In the five years since it signed the first contract, the program reports revenues of approximately $200 million.



DOING WHAT CAN’T BE DONEBoeing Aerospace Support's Bill Grant always liked the logic of his former boss, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

It's been more than a decade since the two worked together on the National Security Council. Yet Powell's influence still resonates with Grant, who leads Boeing's Special Operations Forces Aerospace Support Center in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Grant's office displays a saying Powell often used: "Leaders accomplish what the science of management says can't be done."



LEADERSHIP CENTER LURES PARTNERSA group photo sits in Kathy Karmazin-Calin's office at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Standing in the picture around Karmazin-Calin and her associate Jim Kline aren't other United Space Alliance colleagues, but Boeing employees.

The photo is of recent graduates of Leading From the Middle, a development program the Boeing Leadership Center in St. Louis offers. In June, Karmazin-Calin and Kline attended the program as part of a new Center initiative called Valued Partners in Programs. The initiative involves designating up to 20 percent more space in the Center programs and seeking increased participation by the company's customers, suppliers and partners.



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