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Irreversible decisions must often be made with incomplete information and under strict time pressure.
Additionally, Kranz’s flattop haircut was a staple of his appearance.
Whether consciously or not, Kranz’s cultivation of a unique image served to make him one of the most recognizable men in the space program.
Two Teams There were two teams; the team on Apollo 13 itself and the team on the ground supporting them. However, the 1995 film starring Tom Hanks told the story in compelling detail and the teamwork shone through, making it very popular in a team building context (as well as a great film).
A Successful Failure Apollo 13 was supposed to circle the moon, sending a lander down to explore the surface before returning to earth, but an explosion forced the crew to abandon their mission.
As the astronauts lost oxygen and electrical power for reasons that had yet to be identified, Kranz’s voice cut through with a simple command: “Okay now, let’s everybody keep cool.
Let’s solve the problem, but let’s not make it any worse by guessing.” Listening to the flight control recordings, I am amazed and the calmness in his voice.His wife, Marta, would provide him with his trademark white vest, emblazoned with the mission patch for that flight.This signature of fashion remains a piece of NASA folklore to this day.His will to honesty, purpose, and perfection are the heart of this man’s lesson to us all. Pay close attention to his unequivocal sense of personal accountability and the clarity of his demands that he and those who will work under him will hold themselves to only the most exacting standards. Whenever we ask a group to give examples of teams that performed exceptionally in difficult circumstances we can almost guarantee that the teams which worked on the Apollo 13 Mission will come up.Kranz was confident in his ability to swiftly and correctly come to understand the salient aspects of these kinds of critical problems.Like any great leader, he was able to synthesize the provided information into a course of action that would ultimately become a solution.The following Monday, Kranz addressed his team, delivering what became known as the Kranz Dictum. Every element of the program was in trouble and so were we. ’ I don’t know what Thompson’s committee will find as the cause, but I know what I find. From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: ‘Tough’ and ‘Competent.’ means we will never take anything for granted.Although it is directed at the members of Mission Control, Kranz’s words transcend that narrow audience. “Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity, and neglect. The simulators were not working, Mission Control was behind in virtually every area, and the flight and test procedures changed daily. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write ‘Tough and Competent’ on your blackboards. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee.Always be in control of yourself and remain in the moment.After attaining some great accomplishment, some men are content to rest on their laurels and live out their days basking in the residual glow of that success.