What the Wright Brothers Can Teach Us About Management
What was the greatest challenge the Wright brothers would face?
Wilbur and Orville, from Dayton, Ohio, designed ‘wing-warping’ and gave the world controlled-flight. They were perfectionists who labored as fastidious mechanics.
They were perfectionists who labored as fastidious mechanics.
The Wright brothers were meticulous men who understood tight tolerances with little allowance for error. In-flight failure could be fatal.
The brothers insisted on doing the work themselves. Wilbur would even do the mundane chore of pouring oil into the engine. His nickname was “Old Oilcan.” It was not a compliment. Today, we can almost hear Wilbur saying, “If you want something done right, you must do it yourself …”
And this is the work and thinking of the individual contributor. The work must be completed exactly right.
But the ‘work’ changed when the Wright brothers went from research to commercialization. Their newly formed Wright Company needed management attention.
Management is getting things done through the active support of others. The brothers would now see to it that others did the perfect labor. Employees would now pour oil into the crankcases — not the owners…
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