Though I rarely have time to go to such things today, family reunions are a great place to hear stories about your relatives, some of which reach legendary status. As it so happens, one of my distant cousins was a Naval Aviator who got to fly the real star of Top Gun, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. However, unlike other stories you might hear about heroics over the Persian Gulf or going supersonic during an airshow, my cousin did quite the opposite. He dumped a $38 million aircraft into the ocean.
Although I wasn’t in the Navy, one can easily imagine that it’s a complicated feat to launch a 60,000 pound aircraft off of the moving deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. It takes the coordinated effort of thousands of people, not just the pilots and the sailors on the deck. All of these people have processes and procedures that must be followed to the letter to ensure that personnel doesn’t get hurt, machinery doesn’t get damaged, resources don’t get squandered, and that support can reliably be delivered to fellow service people when in need. These actions grew out of much planning, iterative design, with careful trial and error, all measured with the keenest eye to detail, not a knee-jerk reaction.
As the reality of a slower market is setting-in across automotive showrooms throughout North America, panic decisions are starting to take place at a rapid pace. Instead of trusting in the people, partners, and processes that have worked for years, multiple issues are being addressed at once, with little thought given to how many small and interactive variables are being disrupted. [Read more…]