Apollo 13 Communication Plan

A Self Reflection: While working on the communication project, we were fortunate to have had Ron Howard’s “Apollo 13” movie for reference to comprehend the complexity the team faced upon the incident that befell the mission. Both Gene Kranz (Lead Flight Director and Project Manager) and Jim Lovell (Apollo’s commander) maintained absolute control of a chaotic situation.

While the team was becoming intractable, Kranz reigned in by channeling the ideas with “one at a time people” and asking his engineers to “quiet down, Let’s stay cool, let’s work the problem” successfully taming an already chaotic situation through effective communications. In this dire situation, the only possible way to get the astronauts home was through extraordinary teamwork and ingenuity, led by Kranz, who was adamant that “Failure is not an option. ” It was an unprecedented display of resolve, inventiveness and above all an exhibition of the utmost emotional intelligence there is.

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Awed by the interpersonal skills and assertiveness of Gene Kranz, I reflected back on my own life experiences where I could have been on more solid footings had I been able to control my emotions and use them wisely for a better outcome. This assignment really served as a virtual lab where I repeatedly found myself asking what if it were me in their stead? What would I do? How would I behave? What would I say? And above all would I have what it takes to bring the astronauts back home?

This exercise asserted that the need to clearly define roles, responsibilities and objectives, and to communicate them to the stakeholders is paramount. We are, each of us, part of the system. We all serve an equally important role, and objectives cannot be achieved without the contribution of all. Aucoin states in chapter nine “the projects are all “right-brain” projects…” One can appreciate the value of this sentence after working the communication exercise, as the inspiration it conveyed was truly boundless.

Indeed I will put forward and utilize the right-brain capabilities in my own projects moving forward. Applying those right-brain concepts to the information technology sphere of work would definitely put a positive spin on projects as we often manipulate ideas, concepts, and models before committing to the implementation. We frequently fail because we focus on technology ignoring the communication and collaboration piece and rarely utilize the right-brain concepts that can help us align our technology with the common goal.

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