NASA’s Teamwork Is Out Of This World

Parker has always been a huge fan of NASA. As a kid, NASA was a magical place of innovation driven by robots and rockets. In this conversation with Ed Hoffman, Parker discovers that the real “magic” behind NASA is the people who work there, and their impressive ability to collaborate and work together as a team. It’s this teamwork that generates the innovation and success behind NASA.

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NASA’s Teamwork Is Out Of This World

Below are the highlights from Parker’s conversation with Ed about cultivating a culture around teamwork:

Investments in teams will lead to a high return: The team dynamic can be the deciding factor between the success or failure of a project. Investing in team collaboration and tools that harbor effective teamwork will pay off. Ed Hoffman describes two separate missions, the Columbia Space Shuttle and Space Shuttle 119, which took place six years apart respectively. Many of the same people at NASA worked on both missions, but the difference between the tragic disaster of the Columbia Space Shuttle and the triumph of Space Shuttle 119 was the investment in teamwork NASA’s leadership made over the six years.

Culture changes will only take place if leadership adopts and exemplify the change. In order for an organization to adopt any new mindset or process, it must be practiced and modeled by its leadership. NASA’s teamwork initiatives gained a large adoption quickly because many of its leaders modeled their teamwork values in their day-to-day jobs, facilitating conversations and encouraging collaboration from all levels of the organization.

Psychological safety is the key to unlocking innovation. Innovation occurs when team members know that failure can be an option, encouraging them to try something new. Parker and Ed discuss how to identify the right risk profile to let failure become an option. Creating safe feedback loops will change your team’s outlook of failures as a setback, to an opportunity to learn.

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