Thursday, October 14, 2010

HIghly Regarded

NASA recently came up with a list of six characteristics and behaviors associated with top performing system engineers. In general, the study stated that successful executives are inquisitive, curious, patient, and organized. They have a passion for learning and keep an open mind.

The detail on the six is provided below:
  1. Leadership - - Top executives are capable of creating organizational structure by defining roles and responsibilities, identifying and acquiring the resources needed for a project, and drawing on the expertise of others and involving them in the process. They are flexible and responsible in addition to being self-aware.
  2. Attitudes and Attributes - - Successful executives are inquisitive, curious, patient, and organized. They have a passion for learning and keep an open mind. They are conscious of creating a safe environment with a calm and positive attitude, but maintain an "executive presence" to affirm self-confidence and courage when difficult issues arise.
  3. Communication - - Top executives are good communicators and good listeners. They are communication chameleons capable of tailoring a conversation to a variety of audiences (for example politicians, within the organization, and other agencies). Linking people, ideas, and organizations in addition to making themselves available to others were common traits within the study group.
  4. Problem Solving and Systems Thinking - - Highly effective executives look at a problem from multiple perspectives. Having a breadth of knowledge across technical disciplines is a greater asset than a depth of knowledge in a single discipline.
  5. Political Savvy - - Successful executives know how the political system works while knowing how to work the system. Knowing who makes decisions, when they make them, and what they need is critical to maintaining political power. They know how to communicate consequences and implications of decisions and can integrate historical perspectives and lessons learned to provide a context for decisions.
  6. Strategic Thinking - - Successful executives see the big picture. They maintain an agency-wide view, balancing decisions across portfolios, programs, and projects. They seek to build relationships nationally and internationally by building informal networks and connecting with organizations and individuals that might otherwise remain isolates.

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