Whether addressing 80,000 cheering football fans at a San Francisco 49ers’ halftime show, a standing-room-only audience of 3,000 in University of Rochester’s Eastman Auditorium, 3,200 at a black-tie dinner in London, 2,500 University of Texas Medical College graduates or 100 members of the Explorers Club in New York, Ed has captivated and entertained hundreds of diverse audiences as he employed one or more of the following elements in each SpaceLeaders presentation.
The Heart of Leadership
In 1961 the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy launched America’s determined pursuit to win the international race into space when he declared, “I believe we should go to the moon before this decade is out.” What followed that simple, 13-word challenge was a frenzied, all-out effort by thousands of managers, engineers, and researchers to accomplish a seemingly insurmountable task. While most managers possess a reasonable level of administrative ability to accomplish work that flows down from declared goals, the qualities that distinguish true leaders are much less common, a situation as true today as it was in 1961. Using examples from the early pioneers who set the stage and spearheaded rocketry development, the political leader who inspired a nation, astronauts who met the challenge and dynamic heroes on the ground who enabled success,
Ed brings to life leaders who personify vision, courage.and commitment. The value of mission focus, competence, respect, empathy and trust naturally emerge in the process.
Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now, and do it!
– William Durant
Humans have stared across land and sea, into the air and up at the stars and asked, “Why not?” Just as explorers then settlers sailed the seas and spread across our continent, they now leave our planet and venture into space. For Ed, space became a normal way of life as he glided over Earth at a serene five miles a second, lived months without gravity, traveled 35-million miles and watched Earth’s features become as familiar as the face of an old friend. With startling images, verbal clarity and touches of humor, Ed takes his audience through liftoff, space walks and re-entry to live in a world that only a minor number of humans have ever experienced. He puts each audience member into the astronaut’s mind and body to enjoy his thoughts, sensations and emotions. Now, as 14 nations from around the globe work together in the International Space Station, the recounting of life onboard America’s first space station, Skylab, and the medical and operational challenges encountered are both fascinating and highly relevant. His intriguing presentation not only describes our early dynamic strides into space and honestly considers our current faltering steps but also predicts our future outward migration by hundreds, then thousands of space travelers.
Some men see things the way they are and ask, “Why?” I dream things that never were, and ask “Why not?”
– George Bernard Shaw
Space Flight and Management
Motivation through Management Excellence Humankind’s most ambitious, captivating and exciting venture — human flight to the moon — succeeded beyond all expectations. Management excellence combined with the challenge of the lunar landing drove workforce motivation to unprecedented heights. Subsequently, subtlety at first, goals began soften and leadership, even at the highest levels of our government, began to ignore the very qualities that enabled earlier success. Motivation flagged, performance waned and acceptance of mediocrity spread. However, whether we analyze success of failure, we can learn. As Ed describes the triumphs of America’s space program during the Apollo era, he identifies seven basic qualities of management excellence that can, even by themselves, highly motivate a workforce and compel success. These qualities apply to any public, private or non-profit objective including increased sales, lower costs, greater production efficiency, improved education, and assured safety. With these qualities, management can more effectively define the mission, initiate action, maintain simplicity, demand competence, provide adequate workforce support and, lastly, get out of the way. Ed’s presentation is enriched by his humor and ability to creatively put the audience into the spacecraft to experience liftoff, space walks and re-entry. With an insightful perspective into America’s opportunities in space, he demonstrates how management excellence can enable the U.S. to regain its leadership in space utilization and exploration.
Management excellence and workforce motivation – mutually enhancing and absolutely required for success.
– Ed Gibson