NASA On Leadership

This week, our program at Bob Jones University had the privilege to have Daryl Woods speak to our team on leadership.  Some of you may be familiar with him if you read Jay Bilas' book, Toughness.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, Daryl is the Technical Assistant at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center.  He has a vast knowledge of strategic planning and project management in the world of engineering, and truly is a "rocket scientist."  In his book, Toughness, Jay Bilas shares the story about how he met Daryl and drops a great leadership quote on us that says,

Responsible to the element, accountable to the mission.
— Daryl Woods


During his talk with our team, Daryl explained to us how this mindset was an integral part to their success.  He told us that he was given the task to unite two separate teams together, one of which was plagued with low morale due to a recent project being cancelled.  Throughout this journey he shared how each member of this team was responsible for various elements, or parts of the space shuttle.  Each of these elements plays an important role in the overall performance of a successful flight.  Obviously, each responsible party was extremely dedicated to performing their specific role to a high level, but in the meantime other elements were struggling with various circumstances.  


As circumstances came up, members of one element began to contribute to other elements that needed help, whether it was financially or with personnel.  As this team began to help one another, it became very clear that the mission was the most important thing on their minds.  They began to understand that each element was crucial in the overall success of the mission and while they were responsible for their element, it was more valuable to be accountable to the mission.  This culture brought life to its members and they flourished because of a mindset that prioritized the team over any individual.  

Here are a couple tweets from our discussion with Daryl:


As we apply this leadership lesson to our basketball program, we see continual growth and love for each other.  When someone is having a rough day performing their role it is necessary that they find a way to stay responsible to their task, but it is also the duty of his teammates to pick him up and stay accountable to the team.  We can exercise this mindset in many aspects of our program, both on and off the court.  When this mindset is owned by every member we begin to see results that are truly remarkable.  No matter what is going on within your team, whether its in sports, business, or church, make sure that every member stays responsible to the element and accountable to the mission!