Yesterday, One Redmond, an organization that promotes entrepreneurial start up businesses, gave an industry update on the rising business opportunities in the city. Leaders – Fred Wilson of Aerojet Rocketdyne (formerly Rocket Research -the first aerospace company to open in Washington state in 1966), and Chris Voorhees of Planetary Resources (a small company launched only 5 years ago, and Alex Pietsch of Boeing (one of the most well known companies worldwide today) joined the panel to discuss space industry growth and challenges in the city of Redmond.
One challenge was summed up nicely by Mr. Voorhees, “It takes every type of technical skill to pull off a space mission”. The fact that so many subject matters experts with deep domain knowledge are necessary for successful missions means that a main skill required of team leaders is the ability to manage people related behavioral issues during complex problem solving across disciplines. Though effective leadership behaviors are not thought of as ‘technical’, they greatly influence the achievement of the prized mission accomplished.
The human element is as important as the technical prowess in many ways when it comes to personal influence in leadership. That’s why companies today are scrambling to find efficient and effective methods to rapidly train their rising engineering rock stars. Not everyone who studied engineering is naturally gifted in leadership and management abilities. Leaders are developed, not born, and that is the good news. Most teams will quickly admit that leaders at the forefront are invaluable to managing the individual talent of each team member as they work together cohesively to create advanced and world changing technologies.