Apollo 13 Case Study

Topics: Apollo 13, Leadership, Decision making Pages: 6 (2348 words) Published: July 19, 2013
Leadership Theories Analysis using the movie Apollo 13

Vision and Value
Apollo 13 demonstrates the richness of leadership principles and values, especially focusing on team solidity. The movie illustrates how the leaders can develop a vision and values, and how the teams can collaborate under high stress situation. In the beginning of the movie the vision of the Apollo 13 project was to land the astronaut’s on the surface of moon. But the unexpected explosion in the service module created a “Do or die” situation for the team. The vision of the project is suddenly changed to getting the astronaut’s back on earth safely. NASA had a common goal that was strongly set in the minds of each engineers and they are well aware of the cost of a failure. Even under this tremendous pressure, the team was able to communicate effectively and use different types of decision making techniques in order to solve the problem effectively. The movie shows an enormous team effort to triumph a doubtful result, and everyone has their own role to play. The mission control team headed by Flight Director Gene Kranz had developed a set of values, like discipline, morale, toughness, competence, commitment and team work to approach this odd scenario. And it was these values that build the chemistry that keeps them together in all the difficulties to reach the success. Flight Director Gene Kranz organizes the team with his instruction to ‘work the problem’, enabling everyone to play their role in resolving the situation. For every seemingly impossible situation, he given a new energy and vision for the team by his response “we need to find a way to make it work”

Teams and Team Building
The movie shows the pain of team work and what happened during emergency. There are primarily 3 teams in the movie. First one is the mission control center team with Flight Director Gene Kranz. The second one is the Apollo 13 mission team with Commander Jim Lovell and the third one is the team of family members of astronaut’s. Gene Kranz and Jim Lovell are the key players who will address how a leader is able to influence and lead the team in a situation in which unexpected events occur on a regular basis. When facing issues, conflicts, and the achievement of goals, having a fully functional and focused team is vital. Even under tremendous pressure and many conflicts, the Apollo 13 team was able to make decisions effectively in solving the issue. Prior to any group work it is vital that there is adequate socialization of team members through forming, storming and norming. When Captain Jim Lovell was told that he had to make a decision to replace Ken Mattingly with John Swigert .His decision to replace the crew member was a tough one because they already spend enough time to perform well together. The team structure and the ultimate leadership was the main reason for ground team’s remarkable performance. Each functional team in the ground was represented by a team leader and the team leaders reported to the flight director. The team leaders to come up with the optimal solution, followed by approval from the flight director and implementation by the astronauts. Flight Director Gene Kranz was always there to guide the discussion if they started to deviate from the objective. He was always associated with the team to empower them to solve the problem and guide the process. He is leading the team to the right direction and giving an inspiration for his team while saying “Let’s work the problem people. Let’s not make things worse by guessing”. It was up to the team to determine exactly how to do that, he was just leading them in the right direction. Good teams will maintain a creative atmosphere so that ideas can be cultivated and grow. In the movie, Gene Kranz was strong in his confidence to the team even though everyone had internal doubts about the success of the project. This allowed everyone to have confidence in what they were doing. Without this confidence, it...
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