[Post by Chuck Krugh, September 5, 2023]
I plan to take this blog and maybe another to talk about the power of your mind and what you can achieve when you do the work. Stay with me here… I’m not a psychologist or doctor so this will all be from my perspective as someone who has been fortunate to experience quite a few things in my life (mostly good, but some bad as well). I hope that this is helpful to you, or at least entertaining. So here we go…
Your mindset determines how you live your life and possibly many, if not most, of the outcomes.
In the blog Who Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?, I told you that I set three goals when I was 18 years old. First, since we didn’t have a lot when I was growing up, I wanted to hit a financial goal. Second, when I got married, I wanted to do it once and for a long time. Third, I wanted to be the president of the company. At that time, I had no money, no particular girl and no idea what career field I was going into. Yet these three goals became my North Star; they guided me in making decisions along the way.
In that blog, the term “North Star” symbolizes a way to guide my journey and maybe an end point, but that “North Star” was only as bright as I believed it was. The more I thought about those three goals, the more entrenched they became in my mind. As they became more entrenched, the “North Star” became brighter and easier to follow.
But just thinking about it wasn’t going to do much. While your mind is extremely powerful, it is nothing without action, and action translates into work. You see, if I spent time thinking about those three goals and never taking action, then they would have been nothing more than thoughts. The goals would never turn into achievements.
Work is required to turn goals into achievements! There is no getting around it.
In 2018, I was given the almost impossible task to build composite engine nacelle parts (the cowlings that surrounds an aircraft engine) for the G500 and G600 Gulfstream aircraft. I say it was almost impossible because the company that designed the nacelle system couldn’t build it. They went bankrupt while trying to build them. To make it a little more daunting, I could barely spell the word composite, let alone build composite parts. I had very little composite experience in my career, certainly not with structural parts that were critical to flight.
I can remember in the first week or so wondering whether we could build these parts because everything was in complete disarray when I arrived. There was so much to figure out: work in progress status, work order status, part inventory, why they couldn’t build it, what was wrong with their process, did we have enough tools and supplies, are the vendors able to support the production rates that we needed … I could go on. I hope you get a taste for the complexity! A couple more pieces of this story add some color: I was brand new to Gulfstream after coming over from Jet Aviation, I didn’t know the players, and I had to form a team with a small group of Gulfstream people that I had never worked with before. To top it off, one of the most difficult situations my new team had to overcome was that we were physically working within another company’s facility – the company that was trying to come out of bankruptcy.
It was a pretty tall task, but what gave me the edge was that I believed we could do it. The power of my can-do attitude would not let me or the team fail. I would do whatever it took to help the team succeed!
Working step by step, we restarted the line and learned how to build the composite parts. Again, it appears so easy looking in the rearview mirror, but it was a lot of work and lots of hours. Once I had the team believing that we could do it (and there were a lot of skeptics), the team’s belief in ourselves and in one another, together with doing the work, meant we would not fail. Not only did we not fail, the team is still building composite parts today and probably will for a long time into the future. It all happened because a team of folks believed it would happen, and we did the work to make it happen.
The same is true for our company today. I believe we are going to get back to schedule, reduce our costs and increase our efficiency – for the betterment of BIW and YOU!
I am seeing it happen as more of you believe we can do it. It’s a slow process, but the work is happening and momentum is building. Thank you! Before you know it, we will be going faster and faster, and you’ll look back in the rearview mirror amazed at how far we have come.
Keep believing and doing the work! Stay tuned for more on this theme!
See you on the deckplates!
Safely Execute High-Quality Work
President, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works
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