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Three times not being on the same page ended in disaster

November 18, 2015

Unleesh is all about total team alignment - getting everyone on the same page. Whether it's in business, space or on the battlefield, bad communication and misalignment can be disastrous. Here are some epic illustrations of what can happen when teams aren't aligned.

 

Mars Metric Meltdown

 

In 1999, NASA’s $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter disintegrated in the Martian atmosphere upon entrance. Upon investigation, NASA learned that the outside engineers who built the aircraft calculated the propulsion force in pounds. The trouble was, the software developed by NASA assumed the force had been converted into Newtons, which was standard practice.  No one on either side verified that the conversion happened, leading to the destruction of the craft when it reached Mars.

 

Revolutionary Junk Mail Box

 

The Battle of Trenton is known by history buffs as a pivotal point in the war. In December of 1776, General George Washington led disillusioned troops across the Delaware River and defeated a Hessian force, increasing morale and sparking enlistments.  Legend has it that a Loyalist spy delivered a written message the night before the attack to Hessian Colonel Johann Rall that detailed the Continental Army’s movements. Rall was allegedly playing cards when he received the message and put the message in his coat, forgetting to look at it. When Rall died in the battle the next day, the note was found in his pocket.

 

Two Rods Are Not Better Than One

 

In 1980, the luxurious 40-story Hyatt Regency Kansas City opened despite several delays and setbacks. The hotel had aerial walkways suspended from the ceiling that, among other things, allowed people to view atrium performances from above.  The original design called for the walkways to be supported by one long rod threaded through the walkways with single large steel nuts supporting the weight of its respective platform. The steel company supplying the rods decided that it would be easier to install and maneuver two smaller offset rods than one. When the steel company had decided to make the change, no one bothered to check whether it would impact the structure at all. The result was the top nut having to bear the load of two platforms. In July 1981, onlookers gathered on the walkways to watch a tea dance. The walkways collapsed, killing 114 and injuring 216, the deadliest structural collapse until the collapse of the World Trade Center Twin Towers in 2001.

 

Travis Henry is Chief Product & Content Officer, Co-founder at Unleesh and wants to help you get your company, team or organization on the same page. Contact him at travis@unleesh.com.

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