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Helping aerospace corporation engineers deliver difficult messages

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1 Author(s)
Mignot, J. ; CT Eng. Corp., Los Angeles, CA, USA

With the recent emphasis on "right sizing" by aerospace contractors and the shortage of experienced Defense Department acquisition managers, the industry has lost the recipe for on-time, under-budget, quality products. This problem has been exacerbated by industry consolidation, the application of cost as an independent variable (CAIV), and a decade and a half of faster-better-cheaper (pick any two!). In an attempt to help its employees operate more effectively in this changing environment, the Aerospace Corporation began developing a "push back" class in the summer of 2003. The class is designed to teach engineers how to push back effectively when they are confident they have the correct technical answer but that answer flies in the face of "group think". The 3-day class is experiential - students learn what it means to push back; how to convince colleagues, management, contractors, or clients of the validity of a given position; and how to enhance their persuasiveness in real-world situations. This paper describes how the class was designed and delivered, discusses results from the pilot class, and assesses its impact on changing the corporate culture.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2004. Proceedings. 2004 IEEE  (Volume:6 )

Date of Conference:

6-13 March 2004