The US Airforce and Decision Making and Teams

The F-22 is a new Fighter that has capabilities unmatched by any aircraft in the world. The only problem is the pilots can’t get the right oxygen mix and can pass out or have other critical problems.   The planes cost $190M a piece and are missing a $100K system to fix, so have been grounded or limited for years.

This is a leadership conundrum, so wanted to puzzle on it.

The article notes that a working group focused on the physiological issues said they need to fix the air supply. However, the leader of that group left the service, and the issues were put in a file cabinet.  See the story here.

I can feel that project leader’s pressure. He has cost pressures. Pilot comfort is way down on the list for these guys, No one believed that pilot air sacs in their lungs would burst at high altitudes. There are many voices, and that one did not register.

As leaders, we get paid to hear that voice. Why did they miss that voice?

Sometimes we are just too close to our project to see it well.  An outsider would have flagged the oxygen problem. The insider buried it.  Remember how 3M rotated people that we posted last week?


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Posted in: Decision Making, Leadership, System, Team Development

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