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Press Feature



15745 E. Ocotillo  Drive
Fountain Hills, Arizona 85268
Tel: (480) 8-37-5756
Fax: (480) 837-7730
Email:
infoco1@aol.com

For Immediate  Release

12:00 PM MST June20, 2000

How A Small And Innovative Arizona Based Consulting Firm Is Helping One Of America's Great Companies Execute "The Adventure Of The Century"

In today's complex business climate where change appears to be the only constant and mergers, acquisitions, re-organizations and strategic partnerships are changing the face of the business environment, one of America's great companies is undertaking one of the most daunting challenges ever attempted.

The New Boeing Company and most specifically its International Space Station Program with some help from The Information & Training Company, a small, and highly innovative Arizona based consulting and training firm, is significantly improving its cost, schedule and technical performance on a project that has been called, "the adventure of the century!".

The story of how The International Space Station Program is bringing about these changes is worth our attention.

The Most Challenging Manned Space Effort

The reason The International Space Station Program (ISS) has been called the "adventure of the century" is that it involves 16 international partners, over 120 US contractors (5 of whom are based in Arizona), and an alliance of our own National Aeronautics & Space Agency (NASA) with the space agencies of Russia, Japan and Italy.

These forces are working together to build a massive structure 359 feet end to end, 290 feet long weighing 470 tons that will orbit the earth at a speed of 17,5000 18 times a day at an altitude of 220 miles caring a crew of 7 people. When completed ISS will be 5 times the size of the current Russian space station Mir.

As if this feat was not already enough of a challenge, International Space Station will be assembled in space by teams of astronauts and cosmonauts working in orbit beginning in November 1998 and ending in 2003. Over the course of this time, 47 different missions - some launched from Kazakhstan, Russian and the rest from Kennedy Space Center in Florida - will carry various elements of ISS aloft where they will be joined together to form 'the worlds most ambitious engineering project'. This orbiting laboratory represents the United States first permanent presence in space. ISS will be home to 6 to 7 members of a rotating international team comprised of American, Russian, European and Japanese astronauts, cosmonauts, scientists, and engineers.

Couple this complexity with the fact that Space Station is being executed by a Boeing work force of 5000 scientists, engineers and technicians distributed over 6 major geographical sites, another 5000 people working in 21 states for the various sub-contractors, and a small army of NASA employees and what you get is a contract worth well over $7 billion to Boeing and another several billion to Energia, the prime contractor for the Russian Space Agency and a challenge like no other man has ever undertaken.

But there is more. Increased Congressional scrutiny, significant reductions in NASA's budget allocations and to top it off, a mid contract merger of three giant US based contractors (Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell) who each held separate contracts with NASA for various parts of Space Station and who viewed one another as competitors.

An Alliance For Success

Enter The Information & Training Company, a small and highly regarded consulting and training organization with an impressive track record of assisting corporations, government agencies and national associations in creating vision driven, values based organizations capable of meeting and exceeding their strategic objectives - especially during periods of major change.

Founded in 1986 by George Cappannelli, The Information & Training Company represents a new breed of consulting firms that combine the best and most rigorous consulting tools and research strategies with practical training programs designed to introduce new and more effective core competencies and practices into a client's environment and to provide them with the kind of insight and effectiveness needed in today's complex global business environment. In addition to Boeing, its stable of clients include: Avery Dennison, Anderson Consulting, Digital, Disney, Honeywell, Hughes Space & Communications, Majestic Construction and Realty, Lockheed Martin, Magnavox, NASA, NOAA, Oracle, PepsiCo, Pacific Bell, Philips, Sun Microsystems, TRW, The Los Angeles Times, The U.S. Army, The U.S. Navy, The U. S. Post Office, UCLA and many others.

Unlike larger and more traditional consulting firms, The Information & Training Company team believes they are not only responsible for identifying and recommending effective solutions, they also believe they are responsible for assisting their clients to implement the recommendations they make.

The company's principals also believe that their primary function is not just to 'facilitate' the change process, but in the process to empower individuals at all levels within the client company to become proficient in the new skills and competencies as early in the process as possible. As a result one of the prime and uncommon tenets of the Information & Training Company philosophy is to 'replace itself' as soon as possible.

To accomplish this, the company must, of course, walk its own talk and operate in a way that is not only effective, but demonstrates the value of a management model that is lean, productive and competent. With only 5 full time partners and an operating overhead that is kept low by design, The Information & Training Company accomplishes this.

This model also allows the company to exercise another of its key philosophical tenets - it chooses to work only with clients whose objectives, business ethics and core values it respects. For the company principals believe that only when the interests of the organization, the environment and the global community are aligned is long term success possible.

Another and equally strong belief is that effective, long term, organizational change is only possible when the leadership is committed to making the necessary investment of time and resources needed to achieve their stated objectives. Under such conditions The Information & Training Company can also fulfill its part of the committed -- to work on behalf of its clients only as long as is necessary to accomplish their objectives. And since there are no extra mouths to feed and a low overhead there is neither the inclination nor the need to recommend more work than is essential to achieve the client's goals.

The Small Consulting Firm And A Global Client

Still a question that comes up often is how can such a small company meet the needs of a program as large as Boeing's Space Station? The most immediate answer is that interventions of this size are not new to The Information Company. This Arizona based firm is accustomed to tackling very large projects and succeeding. Last year, for example, the company completed a major strategic planning and team development initiative at Hughes Space & Communications during which over 2600 senior executives, engineers, scientists, technicians and manufacturing personnel had the opportunity to participate in a program designed to help the company develop a new and expanded vision, learn new skills and build a stronger, trust based environment.

One way The Information & Training Company accomplishes this is that it holds firmly to its belief that people come first. By recognizing that a company's greatest asset is its people, The Information & Training Company can assist its clients to focus their attention on first establishing a strong foundation of team work based on trust, mutual respect and effective, supportive communication. With this in place the real strategic dialogue can begin.

The Information & Training Company's success is also dependent on its innovative team approach that allows it to provide its clients with the best possible consulting and training know how at reasonable rates. To do this they have assembled a team of approximately 50 of the best independent consultants in the country who represent a wide range of disciplines and a very broad range of experience. This team of independent contractors allows The Information & Training Company to bring the very best and most appropriate talent to each intervention and to employ the team members only as long as they are needed. This results in top quality interventions at reasonable costs to the client.

The Information & Training Company's success is also dependent on its innovative team approach that allows it to provide its clients with the best possible consulting and training know how at reasonable rates. To do this they have assembled a team of approximately 50 of the best independent consultants in the country who represent a wide range of disciplines and a very broad range of experience. This team of independent contractors allows The Information & Training Company to bring the very best and most appropriate talent to each intervention and to employ the team members only as long as they are needed. This results in top quality interventions at reasonable costs to the client.

The Challenge

In the case of The International Space Station Program, these and a host of other tools have been needed to assist ISS in meeting its substantial challenges. The merger of three global companies into the New Boeing Company alone posed a daunting test to the Space Station Program. This fact is made particularly clear when one considers that the New Boeing Company now has a population of over 200,000 people - roughly the size of New Zealand.

In many ways the task of merging three global companies of the size of Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell is not unlike the task of combining three nation states. Each has its own leadership, its own culture, its own operating constitution complete with policies, systems and procedures, roles and responsibilities, allegiances and norms and standards of behavior. And just as the international geopolitical community has discovered that merging national cultures is no easy task, so today's global giants like Boeing are discovering that merging corporate cultures is not easy. In fact, as the history of both nation states and global companies demonstrates, cultural mergers often do not work.

While The Information & Training Company cannot lay claim to having a sure-fire formula that guarantees success in every reorganization, downsizing, new strategic partnership or cultural merger, it can boast an extensive and impressive track record in this area. As a result it has developed some practical and effective techniques to assist clients in successfully accomplishing their objectives.

The Nuts & Bolts of the Process

The Space Station intervention is an excellent example. The first step involved execution of a comprehensive needs analysis and evaluation of the program's objectives. With a team of consultants headed by Cappannelli and including Heidi Rosner, an Information Company partner who holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and has 11 years practical experience in aerospace at TRW; Robert Clark who, in addition to over 16 years consulting and managerial experience in the aerospace filed, holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering; and Sedena Cappannelli, one of the company's newest members who specializes in individual and group change modalities and communications strategies, the company visited four of Space Station's primary geographical sites in Houston, TX; Huntington Beach, CA.; Huntsville, Al, and Kennedy Space Center in Florida to execute a comprehensive action research phase.

During this phase teams of International Space Station executives at each site participated in extensive one-one-interviews. These interviews were complimented by paper surveys that were distributed throughout the organizations at each site. In addition to Boeing personnel, representatives of both the NASA customer team, and key sub-contractor personnel participated.

Analysis of the findings, coupled with information gathered from Space Station Program management and through the company's extensive experience in this and other industries assisted the consulting team and their in-house Boeing organizational development and human resources counterparts in formulating a comprehensive strategy for the 'whole systems' intervention.

The Primary Objectives

(1) Assist the ISS Team in creating a new operating state that ensures greater effectiveness, efficiency, productivity and profitability. (2) Build a stronger teaming environment in which trust, effective communications, collaboration, resource and information sharing and networking exist at all levels of the organization as well as within the contractor team and between contractor and the customer. (3) Create an atmosphere of open communication and effective problem solving where waste, critical issues and barriers to organizational success can be identified, clarified and reduced or eliminated. (4) Locate decision-making, problem solving and problem mediation responsibilities as close to the relevant information resources as possible. (5) Implement a clear system for measuring the team's effectiveness while increasing accountability and ownership of the team's goals and objectives at all levels of the team. (6) Create a well articulated team strategy which includes the creation and/or refinement of vision, principles, operational procedures, decision making guidelines, and communications protocols which support the organization's objectives.

A second and very fundamental step in The Information Company strategy was to explore the amount of support and commitment on the part of senior leadership to making the necessary changes. Fortunately, Space Station is blessed with an strong leadership team that recognizes the importance of strategic planning and team development work and is committed to doing what it takes to achieve its objectives.

This allowed The Information & Training Company to begin its intervention with a series of off-site sessions with the senior leadership team from the various geographical sites as well as with a number of teams from various levels of the organization. These innovative strategic planning and team development programs combined the very latest experiential team building sessions with practical strategic dialogues which get to the heart of identifying obstacles and creating effective action plans designed to reduce and remove them.

The off-sites also introduced some innovative methods for redefining roles and responsibilities, reviewing organizational structures, articulating core purpose and values, identifying new strategic objectives in regard to cost, schedule and technical performance and agreeing on new operating procedures, communications guidelines and norms of behavior.

These longer sessions for senior executives were followed by shorter programs for additional Space Station personnel from all levels of the team.. In this way the team's leadership was able to gain critical buy-in on its strategic direction, tap into the 'collective wisdom' of the workforce, create a cadre of key 'Influencers' to assist them in orchestrating the change program and provide a valuable opportunity for this cadre to build much stronger and more cooperative relationships both within and between various divisions of the team.

This 'cadre' is now hard at work on 10 major initiatives designed to create maximum immediate impact on cost, schedule and technical performance.

In addition, a unique feature of The Information Company's 'whole systems' intervention involves application of a strong program of ongoing, on-site support, which it executes in collaboration with the in house Organizational Development and Human Resources people. This support takes the form of on-site meeting facilitation, executive coaching, strategic team coaching, one-day follow-up sessions and a 30-week electronic and paper based support program called The Core Competencies Program.

Each Space Station intervention is followed by a comprehensive report which captures lessons learned, documents the tools and skills, the action plans, the action research, an evaluation of strengths and improvement opportunities facing the team, and recommendations for keeping the cultural change program alive and well.

The Launch of Unity and A New Era of Manned Space Exploration

All of which brings us to December 3rd and to the historic launch of Unity, the first and most essential piece of US made Space Station hardware. It is truly the first step in the next phase of man's exploration of the mystery of space.

What's next for The Information & Training Company and Space Station? A major strategic planning and team development program at the Kennedy Space Center and future work with the ISS and other Boeing teams at Hunstville and other sites to insure that this global aerospace company continues to operate with the same clear vision and the same core values, common practices and norms and standards of behavior that mark it as a leader in its field.

Beyond that the Information & Training Company is expanding its presence here in the Valley of the Sun. It's intention is to bring its unique 'whole systems' consulting concepts to local companies who face their own unique challenges and who can join companies like Boeing in finding new and valuable ways to make their organizations not only more capable of meeting the challenge of this century, but of creating vision based, values driven organizations that can serve as models for future generations.

Email: The Information & Training Company

 

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