Skunk Team and Leadership
A Skunk Team is a group of few individuals outside the normal development and research channels of an organization, but they are dependent on for innovations. A skunk team is a small group that is cordoned off from the entire organization to get something urgent done in a hurry and perfection. Skunk team, under the leadership of Lockheed, has come up with iconic planes through its engineers. The first plane to be tried out by this group led by Kelly was the model 10 Electra airplane. Kelly found it complicated to convince his professor about the plane, which he said was pitch unstable and would wobble in its flight. Following was the creation of the P-38 Lightning, which was the most iconic plane of world war 2. It is still one of the most displayed planes in the world. It was fast and a reliable workhorse of the American air force during world war 2. It was, however, overridden in the market by the German Messerschmitt Me262, which was faster than the P-38, had a massive engine with efficient propulsion. Lockheed XP-80 was built on Brits engine named De Havilland H1B Lynn engine (Nickolas, 2017). It was followed by the creation of Martin B-75 Canberra, which did not fly high enough like the CIA wanted. They lobbied enough and created U2, a model from the reworking of (f) 104 and the F-104-star fighter. U-2 had about 80-foot wingspan while the F-104 had about 22 feet. Lockheed A-12 was designed to fly five miles higher than the U-2 could. It would fly four times faster than the F-104. Kelly and his crew developed the J-58 engine into the AG-330 start cart, commonly known as Buick. It had two Buick cat engines combined. It had titanium construction and radically new propulsion ability. After that, there was the creation of SR-71. It flew higher about 85,069 feet, with 2,193.2 miles per hour speed. Following the failure of Tri-Star, there was the development of the Lockheed Have Blue, but still, it was unstable in its flight. They, therefore, built the F-117 Stealth Fighter. It had all flat surfaces to keep it invisible on the radar of their target enemy.
The team is responsible for advising the company managers in their undertakings. The team also rectifies some products that have some faults to improve their efficiency.
Skunkworks has been used by organizations such as the CIA to develop better weapons and military planes to give them an advantage over their rivals. However, this was to remain a top secret since the group has several rules, including the few people who know about the project must be contained in an almost reprehensible manner. Lockheed Martin also provides that there must be a plan for flexibility. There must exist a simple plan and a drawing release system that is flexible. The group also provides a complete and detailed recording of critical works.
The team provides a monthly cost review, which comprises the monthly expenditure and an anticipated cost to see the completion of the project. This process saves the customer from experiencing sudden overruns. More so, access by members who are not involved in the project must be monitored by strict security. Also, hardware specifications must be priory agreed upon by the contractor and the skunk team to avoid inconveniences in the project. Besides, the contractor should understand that there must be testing of their final product in flight even in the initial stages. This step will make the contractor retain his competence in the production of other similar products.
According to Kelly, an organization should use a small count of people who can be trusted. The manager will be responsible for informing their crew and leaving them to judge what to do and what not to do according to the situation. Good leaders should hire creative and resourceful persons that can make decisions that are convenient and reliable. Good leaders should also focus on how to bring out the best in their team. The product is manufactured should match the taste of the customer in all aspects.
Good leaders should adopt the art of delegating to their subordinates. They should provide trust and freedom to the workers. Providing the working team with adequate information will help them make informed decisions without depending entirely on their leaders. Influential leaders should also acquire the virtue of not finger pointing when there is a failure since they understand that the right decision at times turns to be the wrong decision. They should embrace learning and working together to correct the error.
In conclusion, top position leaders should understand the importance of Skunk Works. Confidentiality, efficiency, production, and delivery of the contract on time, leaving no rooms for errors, and providing adequate information about the project is a priority. There has been the creation of different crafts, development of engines to come up with the most effective and reliable airplane.