I believe in change. I believe in entrepreneurship. I believe in staying engaged – it’s the best way to have a long, productive career.
Following my own advice, I was recently offered a very different job, and I decided to take it. After 38 years in the consulting space, I am going to become a senior manager in the Boeing Corp., specifically, ventures within Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS). BDS is a $30 billion organization that wants to dispel the myth that Boeing cannot create new businesses.
My role, which will evolve over the next year, is to help move the needle and create a culture of entrepreneurs who can take advantage of the vast innovative capabilities and inventory of advanced technology that is Boeing. There is no shortage of opportunities, but we have to make it safe for employees to try out new ideas, to rapidly prototype new products and to celebrate failure as each iteration brings them closer to a success.
Part of the transformation will be easy. There are so many brilliant people in the organization worldwide that we will easily find many opportunities. The difficult part will be implementing concepts like “accelerated failure” into an operation which prides itself in quality, consistency and reliability.
Learning to sell into and support non-military products and services will require changes in mindsets. It will require top management support (which we have), and it will require time.
This will be a massive transformation and, at the same time, nothing more than releasing the existing capabilities of a worldwide work force. It will be an interesting and exciting journey. I will keep you posted.
But there’s something to this story that can be applied to each of you. Take a minute and look internally. Are you stifling change? Do you think it will be too hard on the organization? It takes guts to ask for help, but the results can be amazing.
Look outside your company and your comfort zone for help. Bring in a trusted advisor to look over what you are doing. Pick someone who will be brutally honest and tell you where you are falling behind. Then take the input as the start of your own adventure into the future. Make changes. Bring in new ideas. Prepare the company to succeed at an even higher level.
Ignore the old saying: “The only one who likes change is a wet baby.” Take charge and try some changes. Start small. Build a success or two and then stretch yourself. You will surprise yourself with newfound opportunities and capabilities. Tomorrow can be better than today.