NASA used PCM as part of their astronaut selection - why?

As part of the shuttle astronaut selection process in the late 1970s, candidate astronauts would face a number of assessments to ensure that they could deal with the mental and physical stresses involved in living and operating in high stress, close-proximity working conditions. The psychological assessments were managed by Dr Terry Maguire who was focused on the astronaut's ability to deal with their own and others' emotions and stresses and be able to communicate effectively. Miscommunication was known to lead to ineffective teamwork, and leadership and effective communication is adversely impacted by performance shaping factors such as stress and fatigue.  

One of these interviews was a revelation to Dr McGuire and occurred after he had invited Dr. Taibi Kahler to observe a number of assessments. Kahler, a psychologist from Hot Springs, Arkansas, had discovered a process to assess human interactions second by second and determine the productivity of the communication. The...

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Team building exercises...are they worth the investment?

leadership teamwork Sep 14, 2017

How many exercises have you attended where the event was a laugh, you had a fun time but the transference to the work place was limited?

Team building can be used to build relationships and trust within your team, both of which are essential components of a high performance team, but how of the much newly-developed trust and improved relationships actually get carried back into the workspace?

How much of the team building was about the team performance and how much of it was about self-awareness? The second point is crucial - we can't truly understand the world if we don't understand ourselves and the lens we are looking through.

If the team recognises the weaknesses of one or more of the team members but they themselves don't, there is likely to be an issue when they return to work! Identifying issues in a non-professional environment is a great way to reduce the emotion associated with failure. But the issues do need to be noted, identified and debriefed there and then if...

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Why is it so hard to talk about failure?

About ten years ago I started up a small section on a UK diving forum called “I learned about diving from that…” (ILADFT) which was based on a section within the RAF Flight Safety magazine section called “I learned about flying from that…” This part of the magazine was where aircrew would write in about their mistakes and close calls and others could learn from them and was probably one of the most widely read sections - much more interesting than Air Power Strategy!

ILADFT was to be the same. It took a little while to get going, and people would talk about things that went wrong but they often missed out the context which was frustrating because the devil is in the detail as they say.

The basic rule was that negative criticism was banned and posts which ridiculed divers for putting their hands up were stamped on quite quickly; it was the genesis of the ‘Just Culture’ work I have been doing over the years. It was also...

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