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How NASA Builds Teams: Mission Critical Soft Skills for Scientists, Engineers, and Project Teams
Charles J. Pellerin
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Format: Hardcover, 288pp.
Pub. Date: July 7, 2009
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Item No: 9780470456484
Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:
Every successful organization needs high-performance teams to compete and succeed. Yet, technical people are often resistant to traditional "touchy-feely" teambuilding.
To improve communication, performance, and morale among NASA’s technical teams, former NASA Astrophysicist Dr. Charlie Pellerin developed the teambuilding process described in "How NASA Builds Teams"—an approach that is proven, quantitative, and requires only a fraction of the time and resources of traditional training methods. This "4-D" process has boosted team performance in hundreds of NASA project teams, engineering teams, and management teams, including the people responsible for NASA’s most complex systems — the Space Shuttle, space telescopes, robots on Mars, and the mission back to the moon. How NASA Builds Teams explains how the 4-D teambuilding process can be applied in any organization, and includes a fast, free on-line behavioral assessment to help your team and the individual members understand each other and measure the key driver of team performance, the social context.
Moreover, these simple, logical processes appeal strongly to technical teams who eschew "touchy-feely" training. Pellerin applies simple, elegant principles from his physics background to the art teambuilding, such as the use of a coordinate system to analyze the characteristics of team performance into actionable elements.
The author illustrates the teambuilding process with entertaining stories from his decade as NASA’s Director for Astrophysics and subsequent 15 years of working closely with NASA and outside business teams. For example, he tells how the processes in the book enabled him to initiate the space mission to fix the Hubble Space Telescope’s flawed mirror.
Free downloadable resources will help you:
Further, you can download and use Pellerin’s most powerful tool for influencing the outcome of any difficult situation: the Context Shifting Worksheet.
- Identify your teammates’ innate personalities
- Diagram your culture (And compare it to your customer’s)
- Measure the coherency of your project’s paradigm (Get this wrong and you will be fired!) and
- Learn to meet people’s need to feel valued by you.
"Dr. Pellerin knows how NASA works, from long experience with the organization. What he has learned about how NASA puts together teams to attain out-of-this-world goals can help you and your organization achieve your own goals. This is a book well worth studying."
—Dr. Michael D. Griffin, Head of NASA, 2005-2009
"As a NASA program manager, I saw our teams make quantum leaps in improvement using Pellerin's 4-D system. Later, as a senior NASA leader, I witnessed an organization-wide transformation as the 4-D team-building system took root in our culture. I can endorse this book in the strongest possible terms, but what matters more is the experience of thousands of engineers and scientists whose careers and lives have been positively affected by 4-D."
—Rex D. Geveden, former chief engineer, NASA
"This book is an extraordinary guide to building effective teams to solve technical problems. The insights, based on years of experience in building teams for NASA, reveal a deep understanding of how technical people interact and can be motivated to work more effectively. Any organization where success requires a motivated technical staff will benefit from this book."
—Dr. Len Fisk, Head of Space Science, NASA, 1985-1992
"Great projects demand great leadership. The 4-D process in this book has tools, attitudes, and habits that will help make you a great project leader. It's really for any group that is tackling a challenging project, not just for NASA or space projects. I strongly endorse this volume. I believe the reader will find it entertaining as well as a wonderful approach to forging a more successful management team. When I developed and ran GPS, I wish it had been available to me."
—Brad Parkinson, chief architect of the Global Positioning System (GPS); Professor Emeritus, Astronautics, Stanford University
"By teaching us how to understand our customer's mind-set and then to authentically shape our team's offering in response, Pellerin helped us win three major competitive proposals worth $9 billion. His 4-D approach helps team members achieve superior results-and in the process, live richer and more compassionate lives."
—Greg Davidson, Northrop Grumman Space Technology
"This book has become an integral part of my life. It provides a framework for improving not only your professional life but your personal life as well."
—John Morton, Vice President, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation
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About the Author
Charles J. Pellerin holds a PhD in astrophysics and is the former director of NASA's Astrophysics Division, where he oversaw an annual budget of $750 million, launched a dozen satellites, and led the team that repaired the Hubble Space Telescope. He was also Professor of Leadership in the business school at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Table of Contents
|PART I: UNDERSTANDING AND ANALYZING CONTEXT|
|1||Think You Can Ignore Context? Hubble’s Flawed Mirror Might Wake You Up |
|2||Managing Social Context Manages Technical Performance |
|3||The 4-D System: A Simple Tool to Analyze Team and Individual Performance |
|PART II: USING 4-D ASSESSMENTS AND REPRESENTATIVE RESULTS FROM NASA |
|4||The 4-D Assessment Process |
|5||NASA’s 4-D Teambuilding Results |
|PART III: 4-D DIAGNOSTICS: HOW TO COLOR CODE YOUR TEAM’S CONTEXT |
|6||Using the 4-D System to Color Your Personalities |
|7||Using the 4-D System to Analyze Cultures |
|8||Incoherent Project Mindset Colors? Update Your Resume |
|PART IV: SHIFTING THE CONTEXT |
|9||The Context Shifting Worksheet (CSW) |
|10||Red Story-Lines Limit Team Performance |
|11||Manage Your Emotions to Manage Your Team’s Energy |
|12||People Need to Feel Appreciated by You |
|13||Mine the Gold in Your Shared Interests |
|14||People Need to Feel Included by You |
|15||Building Trustworthy Contexts |
|16||Creating the Future You Want |
|17||Your Team Can’t Afford Drama |
|18||Don’t Put Good People in Bad Places |
|Epilogue: Hubble’s Legacy |
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