The View From Here

Great to Be the New Guy

Written by: developer

Throughout my career, I have always loved taking over a new organization. New situations, people and issues to deal with energize and motivate me to inspire an organization to achieve goals and objectives they never dreamed possible. In addition, when change and uncertainty have dominated the landscape of that organization, one has a rare opportunity to quickly and effectively take a motivated team of individuals to the next level of performance.

Some of you may ask if this situation makes it more difficult to take a new leadership role. The short answer is no.

This scenario provides an opportunity to take a great team, and a highly regarded organization, and make it even better. With proper coaching by the leadership team, it can be fun for everyone to be part of a changing and growing organization since they all have a hand in shaping its future. A necessary part of this process is maturing the vision, strategic planning and operational execution.

So, after 60 days “in the seat,” what is my assessment? I have seen that the Space Foundation is not only a great place to work, but is the preeminent organization that educates, advocates and connects the worldwide space community. It is evident that we are a trusted resource, and viewed as an honest broker of all things space, to include exceptional forums, within which to exchange ideas on pressing topics. If this is the case, then why not leave everything alone and support the status quo?

I am not satisfied with status quo. Any leader or organization that is, is destined to become stale and travel on a path of irrelevance. The landscape changes daily. Agile and effective organizations change with that landscape.

At the Space Foundation, we are working on several key areas to advance our leadership in the worldwide space community.

1. Develop a new strategic plan. This ensures our internal goals and objectives are aligned to that plan, and with the expectations of our external stakeholders. The new strategic plan will be based on our three core pillars: educational programs, space awareness initiatives and service to our space industry.
2. Engagement with local, national and international partners. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that many are unaware of what we do, why we do it and how they can support us in those efforts. The Space Foundation brings tremendous value to our community and partners. Everyone needs to understand our value and how they can support our efforts. We will reenergize our outreach program.
3. Develop the next generation of global aerospace leaders. Our “New Gen” program — New Generation Initiatives — is a hidden gem. A young, energetic and innovative workforce exists, and it is the seed corn for the future of the aerospace industry. We will provide meaningful events and programs to improve their capabilities.
4. Revitalize philanthropic activities. We are a 501c3 nonprofit entity. Our survival depends not only on our events, but on the generosity of supporters who are as passionate about our mission as we are. We will develop a cohesive engagement plan and execute it.
5. Internal realignment. Everyone has a different lens through which they view the effectiveness of an organization. My view is that we are not properly aligned in several functional areas. The purpose of realignment is to improve our effectiveness and make life better for the employees of the Space Foundation.

I have a great sense of the expectations being placed on the Space Foundation by our stakeholders. There is a lot on our plate, and we have much to accomplish. I make a commitment to all of you, that we will raise the bar, stretch our goals and objectives and take smart risks to achieve more than anyone thought was possible.

Yes, the Space Foundation is great, but together we can, and will, make it even better.

Tom Zelibor, Space Foundation Chief Executive Officer

This article is part of Space Watch: July 2017 (Volume: 16, Issue: 7).