Colonel Collins: 2017 Distinguished Lecturer

Hello 4 South!!

I hope that as many of you that possibly could go, did go to the Lecture this morning! Our Speaker was Colonel Eileen Collins. During this lecture many different topics were covered from the necessity for human flight in to space, the need to further discover, and the importance of leadership skills in your ever day life. Colonel Collins began with talking about the tragic destruction of Columbia, and the decisions that were made leading up to the incident. Colonel Collins would be aboard the crew following the crash. In the time leading up to the destruction, an engineer had actually seen the piece of debris causing the hole that would lead to the failure of the heat shield. Although this engineer asked for visual confirmation of the shuttle heat shield to be made, this order was cancelled, due to the need of the resources else where. The leadership team made the decision that the cameras should not be used to check for damage, as there would not be any repair possible, while in orbit. After the crash though, it was determined that a rescue mission would have been possible and the crew would have had a chance to survive.

Through stories like these we are able to ask ourselves what did we learn and how will we look to the future to prevent mistakes like this to take place again. Colonel Collins made a statement that after the missions, meetings were held with mistakes always taking precedence. The leadership team member made this a key topic in every meeting. Those who you work with need to know that mistakes should not be hidden, rather they should be made available for all to see. This way for the future the team you’re working with can either avoid following down the same route, or how to handle the situation better. A leader is someone who is willing to make the best decisions for the mission and to keep self interest out of the equation.

Walking away from the lecture this morning I was left with new knowledge that I believe will help to be a better leader and help to make decisions in the future. Although, I may not be making decisions pertaining to space missions, I may need to make decisions for the team I am working with. Having the ability to see which actions will provide which outcomes is a luxury not all will have , and for that reason a leader will need to be able to act knowing their team will have confidence and trust in their decision.

On some closing note Colonel Collins hit on the need for constant innovation for we as humans to keep pushing the envelope. She made it clear that our imagination is our deadliest weapon and we should never stop dreaming. With a push like this we may be able to explore deep space further in the future and find new solutions to today’s main problems.

If you happen to want to know more information feel free to stop by my room and we can have a chat!

-BenCollins

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