Sample Admission Essay on Enhancing Leadership Skills for NASA


Leadership is essential to every success oriented firms as continuous operation of organizational activities is solely pegged at leadership skills endowment the management applies. Power is attached to leadership as people derive powers based on the kind of roles they play in organizations. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Today, many firms are changing the manner in which power is applied with command having been changed to harmoniously include every stakeholder in an organization. Teamwork has become inevitable for goal-driven organizations, as the management has realized that inclusion leads to increased productivity as every stakeholder offers to put his best in production and income generating activities.

Mistakes are meant to serve as stepping stones to destination, and hence firms which adjust accordingly have felt many pros. Leaders should be able to anticipate problems and be ready to find amicable solutions. Time is a factor in solving systems breakdowns and this calls for immediate conveyance of messages to concerned agencies to rectify and find solution to a problem in question. The interrogator seeks to poke holes in the current NASA leadership with respect to the Colombian fatal accident, and move a notch higher to recommend solutions that if implemented will curb such occurrences

Leadership Development Program for NASA

NASA needs to learn from the past experience and move a step further to correct the mistakes earlier made. There is a need for the organization to properly identify its shared values and subsequently instill this across the board. Once the workforce knows the shared values faced by each and every individual, it would positively work as a team to achieve the set goals. Organization shared values portray the attitudes and communicate fully about what exactly a particular organization stands for. An employee is thus tied down to strictly following such, and hence works positively to benefit the firm.

Another core factor NASA needs to adopt is the structure clearly defined and stated. This will ensure that each stakeholder understands the interconnectedness of units, and the central factions such units revolve around. This will clearly help NASA explain and solve the problem of such laxities in communication breakdowns, and hence amicably and harmoniously achieve its objectives. Another core element of this program would the appreciation of a clearly outlined strategy a specific organization utilizes in its attempt to achieve its goals. Development of such policies should be an all inclusive to ensure total acceptance by the stakeholders once implemented.

NASA should also outline properly the component and the kind of staff it should attract both in terms of quality and quantity. Overstaffing or understaffing both plays negatively to a firm. Determination of the optimal number of workforce to match its technology leads to optimal production as human-capital ratio is a factor that must be properly and keenly studied and a balance stricken. NASA should as well properly state its culture based on style adopted. Cooperate culture determines the reputation and how outsiders view a given organization. A collaborative cultural design is one which incorporates every stakeholder, and makes organizational structure to work harmoniously. Systems should also be developed in which a significance process and procedure of undertaking a particular work is outlined. In this case, the organization should not be labor independent but labors should depend on organizations. Organization operations should not stop due to absence of a particular worker but should continuously operate.

Systems, Models or Behaviors Applicable

Organization system should be proactive and not reactive. There is a need for an organization to avoid waiting until mishaps occur as NASA did with respect to Columbian accident where people were killed. We need to adopt the systems workability without compromising principles, and to be always certain with the areas of action we always take. The organizations goal and policies should remain paramount with respect to the decisions and actions we undertake. We should always revise our systems and not to be too much focused on what is to be achieved without being seen to be working towards such achievements.

NASA ought to have remained steadfast and should not have failed to maintain its checks and balances by ensuring that quality assurance was not put to a blow as they changed the factions of quality assurance to an independent contractor. System integrity is vital when healthy tensions are used (Tobler, 2005, p.167). We should hence develop a system where frequent maintenance is attached to government agencies without subcontracting such vital services to a private that may not meet the standards set. The system should be able to anticipate problems occurrences and device proactive strategies to curve such occurrence before they are felt. For every given working system, the underlying factor is safety, which is always paramount. We should develop systems with solutions at a hand to be on the safer side. This should be achieved to ensure that every untested assumption is properly questioned frequent until a rational solution is reached.

We should have leaders that are able to see a solution behind every problem. Lack of self-efficacy works against leadership, and this is what has been linked to NASA leadership. Problems came up and were not solved. They were preoccupied, focusing only on the need to launch the station and were never disturbed at all with the unforeseen occurrences. We should employ a systemic approach to failure in our systems as this is attached to long term solution. This makes it possible for the concerned agencies to master the whole process of mitigating such failures, and would never allow such problems to re-occur. Leadership should adopt models that allow the continuous assessment process accompanied by systems thinking in order to develop working systems, which can serve for longer periods. Assessment reveals weaknesses of a particular system, and calls for respective adjustment. When this is done, accumulation problems are eliminated and safety is achieved. Many people would only wish to come up with new systems and they do not first assess the problems of existing once. Such new systems ends up even being worse as problems are just transferred to new systems unnoticed.

Critique of NASA Leadership

The leadership initially employed the use of high quality assurance for maintenance, which was good for the organization. It is also good to focus on achievement as was seen by leadership to launch the Node (Irani, 1999, p.154). They initially frequent reduction to the tune of 40000, which worked for the organization until it forgot that its success was pegged at even more inspections of such kinds. It is also worth appreciating the initial systems applied and the identification of problems, such as the existence of debris but was only reluctant on the urgent need to take the immediate action to solve the identified weakness, making them to suffer a big blow. NASA had a better organization culture and strategies, but had little and rigid leadership skills that were less inquisitive and left problems unsolved. This worked against their goal and values leading to a major blow.


The leadership was compromised with the need and focus to launch the Node for space station so much into that they were never seen to think of any other unforeseen.

The FOD prevention programs failed to achieve its objective as specification differed from the initial NASA specification resulting in contractor’s negligence. This made it difficult to identify the existence of any debris, making debris to remain and hence leading to the whole process failure.

The reduction of hardware inspection to 8000 from the initial 40000 meant a bigger blow to NASA, as the error was made by the concerned government agencies. Laxity in maintaining checks and balance also worked against NASA in a way that its quality assurance for maintenance was transferred to a contractor.

The leadership opted for investigation of accidents instead of prevention. The Columbian accident ought to have been curtailed but the management failed to appreciate the fact that we need to learn from the past experience.

NASA leadership was not inquisitive when it comes to decisions made. They were never focused when it came to activities where life was paramount. They took it for granted that it was their normal practice, but instead they ought to have dealt with any action as a unique one and pay every attention.

The leadership never took actions to problems as admitted by NASA leaders when they always treated vital actions as routines. They even never learnt from earlier occurrence, which resulted in a repeat of an accident in Columbia that could have been prevented.

They leadership accumulated the problem and made today’s problem to be tomorrow’s, this made it difficult to solve problems as they had accumulated. It has been prudent to solve a problem as it is immediately noted.


Life is paramount when it comes to a system development and subsequent implementation. Proactive strategies work best when life safeties have to be achieved. Organizations need to identify in advance the possible systems and strategies meant to prevent deaths. The investigator finds it quite disheartening based on the finding about the negligence in the Columbian accident that occurred despite earlier indication. Success-oriented firms have to keenly be inquisitive with the untested assumptions, and to fully treat them as assumptions and not facts. NASA leadership was clearly faulted and could not seal the impending dangers despite prior identification of debris accumulation.

Systems are key in organizations as they are the vessel upon which success is embedded. Evaluation and adjustments of systems should not be left to its developers but the implementers should play a bigger role by reporting any unfamiliar occurrence noted with the system. Communication of problems is inevitable since one might identify the problem, but if it is not timely communicated, the whole process and the system might be shattered. System developers need to do everything possible before it is handed over to the users and further educate the users properly in advance on problems detection and anticipation.


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Vernis, A., Iglesias, M., Sanz, B., & Saz-Carranza, A. (2006). Nonprofit Organizations: Challenges and Collaboration. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.