Magazine article Industrial Management

Celebrate Early, Often and in Midstream

Magazine article Industrial Management

Celebrate Early, Often and in Midstream

Article excerpt

During the heady days of the American industrial revolution, major construction projects often were launched with a blue ribbon ceremony where tycoons in top hats would dig the first symbolic shovel full of earth wich silver spades. That tradition still is honored occasionally by various government agencies during their "groundbreaking" ceremonies of high profile projects.

But private enterprise normally does not indulge in such practices. It is not uncommon for large projects to begin almost in secret, as if it might be "bad luck" to celebrate prematurely a major undertaking chat is sure to confronc myriad challenges along the way. Ics almost as if the successful contractor wants to avoid the notice of fate itself.

But there are several reasons why senior management might want to begin a project with the same hoopla normaily accorded its successful completion. Thereis no better way to demonstrate to the employees that the world is watching and that success is expected of them. An opening ceremony is a public pledge. With so much organizational commitment on the line, the employees charged with the project experience a sobering sense of obligation.

But perhaps even more important than the kickoff is che meeting of a major milestone.

When the first 777 jetliner finally took form in its hangar, there was still much co be done before Boeing could deliver ic to United Airlines, its first customer for the new plane. The empty shell had yer to be outfitted with all of its instrumentation; then the plane would begin the many months of FAA testing. Nevertheless, Boeing went all out in ics celebration of this major milestone.

In the midst of an economic depression, Boeing held a party - not for rhe press, bur for its people. And what a party! Ten thousand Boeing employees brought their extended families to the weekend presentation of the assembled jet. Choreographed by Dick Clark Productions, the event never would be forgotten by rhe nearly 100,000 who attended the showings on Saturday and Sunday.

The visitors were led to their seats by ushers in a completely darkened hangar. Suddenly, to the sounds of swelling orchestral music, the dramatically arranged spotlights snapped on - revealing a shining creation so beautiful that even the Boeing execs did not trust themselves to speak for several minutes. …

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