Step by step, NASA is doing what it takes to 'fix the culture'

Marc

Fully vaccinated are you?
Staff member
Admin
#1
We've discussed 'Changing the Culture' in a company in a number of threads here over the years. Just wondering if any of you folks have a coment on the following from USA Today:
Step by step, NASA is doing what it takes to 'fix the culture'
By Sean O'Keefe
One small step for NASA could turn into a giant leap for the space program.

In 2003, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board found that NASA's safety culture contributed as much to the space shuttle Columbia accident as any mechanical failure. The board assessed that we needed to "fix the culture" — and thus was born one of the largest, most complex organizational changes ever.

During the past 13 months, the agency has developed a model for understanding culture and how it changes. It has measured specific aspects of the culture across all 19,000 employees, designed and tested an intervention method and is implementing the strategy that will reach throughout NASA by the end of 2005.

While activity cannot be equated with achievement, the fact is the program is already working. A recent survey taken in February of 2004 and then October found "solid, measurable progress" from the initiative. It looked at nine fundamental attributes of culture — including employee-supervisor relationships, management credibility, teamwork, work-group relations, the safety climate and upward communications — and each category showed improvement. Employees are increasingly more comfortable raising safety questions, and their concerns are being fully explored.

'Measurable progress'

Statistically and anecdotally, the progress is real — and the process is working faster than what has been achievable in many organizations. NASA set a very aggressive schedule, and the agency's mind-set for achievement has helped to create solid, measurable progress.

This does not mean that NASA's culture is fixed. Organizations don't fix cultures the way plumbers fix leaks; they address a set of issues so that a new culture develops. In the tough world of organizational change, that's progress, not success. At NASA, some people are embracing change, others are awaiting their turn and still others will never buy in — that's human nature.

Of course, there are those within the agency and in the space-exploration community who still aren't convinced. USA TODAY recently reported the views of those who think NASA's culture has not been fixed. Debates have emerged, as reported Friday in The New York Times, on the methods for measuring the actions taken to meet the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. Such opinions show the dialogue is continuing.

The relationship between NASA employees and their work is unusual. NASA ranks high in employees' ratings of workplace desirability. NASA employees are not as motivated as others by financial gain or other extrinsic rewards. They are motivated by their personal connection to what the agency does, what it wants to do, and what it means to be part of space exploration and the discovery of the universe.
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor
#2
Marc said:
Just wondering if any of you folks have a coment on the following from USA Today:
I'll bite: What NASA has set out to do must surely be one of the toughest tasks around. To change the mindset of that behemoth of an organization. Daunting, to say the least...

Daunting, but not impossible. It can be done, and the fact that NASA sets out to do it should send a signal to other organizations in dire straits: Never ever give up.

/Claes
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#3
When you get down to basics NASA is no different than any other bureaucracy. You have very long term, tunoptic, function specific, technically minded, job secure, and unbending people that think that only their way will work.

If they truly wanted culture change they would use the resources at hand like their QMS/EMS programs (which I suspect is a bunch of hooey and BS based upon recent events) to do it and ultimately achieve customer satisfaction and expections. My guess is, they haven't properly identified their customer so they really don't know which direction to "improve". The "committment" thing comes into play here as well.

One thing that really strikes me is the "safety" thing. Here we have an employer (the astronauts are employees) knowingly ingoring communication about safety related issues that have resulted in the deaths of 2 flight crews and the destruction of 2 very expensive pieces of equipment. Where's OSHA? Any other work environment OSHA would be investigating...in California, Cal OSHA would be prosecuting.

The culture will only change when accountability comes into play.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#4
Randy said:
My guess is, they haven't properly identified their customer so they really don't know which direction to "improve".


I think the problem is that they have identified the customer, and have done a good job of meeting customer expectations. Just because something blows up and people get killed doesn’t mean the customer won’t be satisfied.



Randy said:
Here we have an employer (the astronauts are employees) knowingly ingoring communication about safety related issues that have resulted in the deaths of 2 flight crews and the destruction of 2 very expensive pieces of equipment.
I don’t think the employer ignored anything. They heard the opinions and made decisions. Again, whether those were wrong decisions depends entirely upon one’s point of view. That the decisions resulted in disaster is not in dispute. The problem lies in a system that forces administrators to make potentially disastrous “business” decisions in order to satisfy their customers. We also have a tendency to equate NASA with GM or other large commercial enterprises, and apply the same “zero defects” mentality. It’s naïve to expect that you can shoot people into the heavens on top of absurdly powerful incendiary devices and not kill someone sooner or later. The best we can hope for is that when the inevitable does happen, that it will be due to causes that were reasonably unforeseen. But when a table is made with all the predictable things that can go wrong in column “A” and with the costs of prevention in column “B,” and funding comes from Congress, it’s also naïve to believe that dice won’t be rolled under pressure from the number in the “B” column.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
G Lean Kaizen: continuous, step-by-step improvement in the Lean direction Lean in Manufacturing and Service Industries 0
Ron Rompen MSA on automated measurement system - Multiple Step Vision System Gage R&R (GR&R) and MSA (Measurement Systems Analysis) 3
S How to Learn all aspects of ISO 27001:2013 | The best way to grab the knowledge on 27001:2013 (Step by Step) IEC 27001 - Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) 7
L What is the very first step to prepare for applying EASA POA? EASA and JAA Aviation Standards and Requirements 1
D FDA filing guidance to add sterilization step for approved drug Pharmaceuticals (21 CFR Part 210, 21 CFR Part 211 and related Regulations) 8
M FDA News USFDA – Announcement of Safer Technologies Program (STeP) Medical Device and FDA Regulations and Standards News 0
E Creepage distance accross insulation of step up transformer EU Medical Device Regulations 2
Raffy What is the first step in doing PIA (Privacy Impact Assessment)? IEC 27001 - Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) 3
Q Removing Inspection (Functional Tests) from a Process Step Inspection, Prints (Drawings), Testing, Sampling and Related Topics 8
S FMEA Process Step or Current Control FMEA and Control Plans 3
V Failure Modes of 1-step being taken as cause in 2nd (subsequent/downstream) step FMEA and Control Plans 4
A Cytotoxicity Testing - FDA doesn't like the Filtration step 21 CFR Part 820 - US FDA Quality System Regulations (QSR) 2
K Step by Step Gauge R&R with 10% maximum allowable Gauge Error Gage R&R (GR&R) and MSA (Measurement Systems Analysis) 1
AnaMariaVR2 Senator urges FDA to step up on foreign APIs US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 0
P LEAN Implementation Step By Step - Where to start? What to include? Lean in Manufacturing and Service Industries 25
F What's the next step after failing an AQL? Inspection, Prints (Drawings), Testing, Sampling and Related Topics 7
Y What is the first step in implementing AS 9100 for a 4 person shop? AS9100, IAQG, NADCAP and Aerospace related Standards and Requirements 3
P Suitable step in my continuous development?? Career and Occupation Discussions 4
Sidney Vianna ISO 10393 - First step for ISO standard on recall of unsafe products Other ISO and International Standards and European Regulations 0
P Quality Metrics (Step Down or Step Up Goals) ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 6
S Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge / Step block - Calibration - help General Measurement Device and Calibration Topics 3
R Process Flow Chart Step - Timing between Process Steps Process Maps, Process Mapping and Turtle Diagrams 3
T Finishing an G8D - Step D8 advice please Nonconformance and Corrective Action 9
S Step by step process for Wire Harness Fabrication needed Manufacturing and Related Processes 12
L Should "missed process step" be filled in PFMEA? FMEA and Control Plans 2
V Final inspection as process step in PFMEA FMEA and Control Plans 11
Coury Ferguson Bill Gates to step down from Microsoft After Work and Weekend Discussion Topics 8
P Is special CA (Corrective Action) verification step necessary? ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 17
J Need step-by-step ISO 13485 implementation help ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 8
T What is required for APQP step 4.5 Production Validation Testing APQP and PPAP 2
B Step by step methodology in Preparation of Dynamic Control Plan (DCP) FMEA and Control Plans 3
A A Step by Step TS 16949 Implimentation Plan and Strategy - New Company IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 17
C Step 1: Engage Top Management! The Reading Room 13
E Should Inspection Be A Step in Process Flow? FMEA and Control Plans 17
W Drawing CUSUM Control Charts - Need a simple step by step example Quality Tools, Improvement and Analysis 3
H Quality Employee "Step Plan" for Quality Manager Position Career and Occupation Discussions 1
ScottK Learning about converting an AutoCAD .dwg to a .STEP file Manufacturing and Related Processes 5
P Can anyone suggest a GRR procedure for a Multi step plug gage? Gage R&R (GR&R) and MSA (Measurement Systems Analysis) 2
M Chrysler 7 Step Corrective Action form - how to fill it out? Nonconformance and Corrective Action 8
1 Design Review Process - Need a step by step methodology Design and Development of Products and Processes 4
Q Example of Format for SPC Audit - Measurement and analysis at each process step Statistical Analysis Tools, Techniques and SPC 6
S Gage R&R for two step measurement process Gage R&R (GR&R) and MSA (Measurement Systems Analysis) 3
M Is ISO 9001:2000 a retrograde step ? ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 32
E The next step? VDA 6.1 to EFQM - Same basic principle as the Baldrige VDA Standards - Germany's Automotive Standards 10
L Sanctioned format for the Chrysler 7 Step Corrective Action Process Nonconformance and Corrective Action 9
D Where to find the Chrysler 7 step problem solving procedure? QS-9000 - American Automotive Manufacturers Standard 2
Marc DIS 9001:2000 a step backward? ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 1
P Simple PPAP / APQP Step-by-Step Process APQP and PPAP 3
Howard Atkins Registrar Requalification in a 2 step format? Registrars and Notified Bodies 6
DuncanGibbons To what extent are NASA standards applicable to commercial aviation? AS9100, IAQG, NADCAP and Aerospace related Standards and Requirements 14

Similar threads

Top Bottom