Leaders Need Spacesuits

May 01, 2020

LEADER'S FIELD GUIDE

The ISS "looks" quiet and peaceful as it orbits the earth at 18000 MPH! Leaders need spacesuits to prevent damage, achieve goals, and focus energy.


Ever feel like you’re on a spacewalk? Are you suited up for the challenges of mission critical tasks and environmental extremes? According to National Geographic, astronauts orbiting the earth see the sun rise and set every forty-five minutes. You hear the sound of your teeth chattering, your breathing, and the sound of pure oxygen circulating through your spacesuit. Your microphone is on, and everything you say (and mutter under your breath) is heard by teams of people watching your every move– in real time and on timeless recordings.

The late Bruce McCandless reflects on being the first human to float freely from any earthly anchor as he stole only glimpses of recognizable land masses below, careful not to lose sight of the space shuttle Challenger:

It was fun. But I tell you, I thought it would be sort of ethereal in terms of quietness, and I was wrong. I had radio communications, and there were three different people talking to me … it was anything but peaceful and quiet. ~First Person to Walk Untethered in Space Gives a Final Interview, National Geographic

That was back in 1984, and even today, NASA confirms that astronauts still withstand external temperatures as low as -250℉ and as high as 250℉! Cold, then hot, then cold astronauts on spacewalks make repairs and conduct experiments on the International Space Station (ISS) as they speed around Earth at five miles per second (or 18000 MPH).

What do leaders and astronauts have in common? The need for:

  1. Protection: Protection from radiation and temperature extremes seem obvious. Don’t forget about space dust. It is very small and travels faster than a bullet. These threats are unseen and cause damage if unchecked. What’s causing damage to you or your work that has gone unnamed or unmanaged?
  2. Navigation: On spacewalks, an astronaut uses small thrusters on the back of the spacesuit to maneuver, most importantly, back to the ISS. This pack is aptly named the Simplified Aid for Extravehicular Activity Rescue, or SAFER. What small adjustments do you need to make as you move closer to your destination?
  3. Power: The Primary Life Support Subsystem circulates oxygen for breathing, provides electricity to the cooling water tank, and removes exhaled carbon dioxide. Which mission critical subsystems need more of your focus or energy?

In the vacuum of space, spacewalks appear silent and peaceful. Yet, teams of people are involved making each spacewalk possible. The protection, navigation, and power required to orbit the earth every ninety minutes are complex, just like the systems required for a leader to be successful are complex.

The prevailing feeling seems to be that when we look down from space…everybody that’s on spaceship Earth– why we can’t learn to work with each other and get along. – Bruce McCandless, Astronaut


by Michelle Sugerman • Leading Synergies, LLC • © All Rights Reserved

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