Will They Cheer For You?

Will They Cheer For You?

Today, I attended the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Awards Ceremony. It honors the Goddard Space Flight Center workforce for their dedication to many vital areas, including leadership, management, science, engineering, mission support, and customer service.

The Management Award recognizes managers, supervisors, and organizational team leaders who, while providing day-to-day direction to work units, demonstrate through their management behavior, style, and approach, exceptional levels of achievement that creates a positive and productive work environment for their employees. Garcia Blount was recognized today for exemplary management and leadership qualities that make his Branch, Code 547, and Goddard, a technology leader in manufacturing support.

When his name was called, six people, obviously from his team, let out a tremendous and loud cheer that pierced my heart and touched my soul today. There were six sitting next to each other. They had to have come together, early in fact, to get adjacent seats in the crowded auditorium. They all had cameras, screaming and cheering as they called his name. Their excitement touched me. The frantic clicks of their cameras matched the tempo of what must have been their pounding of their hearts. And I heard it. I didn’t know Garcia, but I thought he must be one heck of a leader.

Now as a CIO Blogger, I am sensitive to being controversial and inciting unbridled emotions in readers; after all, this whole Web 2.0 thing is still pretty new. I will push the envelop here – in Washington, DC – and talk about (gulp) football. I’m fascinated by the New England Patriots. Most of the time, you might hear sound bites like – Terrell Owens and the Dallas Cowboys; Payton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts; Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers … er .. I mean the New York Jets; Gladys Knight and the Pips.

You don’t hear the Tom Brady and the Pats sound bites that often. So, I’ve pondered various aspects of what might be Bill Belichick’s leadership acumen that consistently produces team leaders, quarterback leaders, and winning teams. Clearly skills a CIO would be interested in. After all, IT Transformations and Super Bowls – seems like the same thing to me.

Consider this quote from Randy Moss when talking about Brady’s season-ending knee injury (Source ESPN.COM):

“We saw Tom today,” Moss said in a national conference call.

“I am not sure how much longer we are going to see him, but he is here today and has been uplifting and keeping a positive attitude. I think that goes a long way with not only him but the team as well.”

They are going to miss him. But, his leadership helps them feel they can win without him. Well actually, they will always have him with them even if he is on crutches. And even if he is on crutches, they will still cheer for him. And he will cheer for them.

When Garcia walked down the aisle today, proudly carrying his plaque, he smiled at his team. Click-click-click. He was proud of them. Though he walked across the stage, he knew that they were the ones who made it all happen for him. I saw the look on his face. HE was cheering for THEM.

Linda Cureton

6 thoughts on “Will They Cheer For You?”

  1. I can tell you a story…it combines “Big Fish” and “Field of Dreams”.
    It’s all about how an industrial instrumentation and controls engineer stepped out of his life and wound up with his family beneath Endeavour and saying farewell to Sean O’Keefe. It may not be a big thing to you, but where I come from, it merited the front page of a local newspaper.

    But I never would have done any of it if not for the encouragement of those I am blessed to work with; Russel, Frank, three guys named Mike, Chris, Pete, Tony, and my family.

    Adventures such as what happened to me don’t happen in real life; they only happen in the movies or to other people. But there I was, because they all pushed me.

    And in the process, I came to embrace something I always tell apprentices: you never know what you can accomplish until the day’s tasks are complete, and my favorite, be more than you think you can be.

    They weren’t there as we toured KSC, or at NASA Headquarters, but they were with me in spirit, and when my mother passed in April 2005, I was happy that I had been able to share my “great adventure” with her. My father had passed in 1997, and missed it all.

    All my life, I’ve been the man behind the control panel, and it’s a role I’m comfortable with. But on that day when I leave this life, I know that my parents will be waiting for me, and that they’ll be part of a crowd, a crowd of people I never met in this life. I know that one of them will tell me what I’ve wanted to hear all of my life:

    “Hey Rookie! You were good…”

    …and then I can walk into that sunset.

  2. I had a similar moment when I was honored for PM of the year award, it felt good to hear the response from my team and colleagues

    Phil Wong
    Director of

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