IBM Academies

As the leader of the “Tiger Team” of flight directors who brought the Apollo 13 spacecraft safely back to Earth on April 17, 1970, Gene Kranz demonstrated extraordinary courage and heroism. An extraordinarily gifted leader and motivator, Kranz inspired hisTiger Team to hold fast to the highest standards possible. Together, they struggled to devise the plan that would safely bring the ship and its crew of three astronauts home after its oxygen system failed. “Failure is not an option,” the motto that carried him through the Apollo 13 crisis, is a major theme of his motivational speeches today. Kranz speaks with passion and pride about the NASA employees who formed his mission teams—teams that worked hard and made history in the 1960s and ‘70s. He explains that his flight directors were young engineers and scientists, most of them in their twenties, having come to NASA fresh out of school with little work experience, but with abundant energy, and the will to succeed at one of humankind’s most challenging endeavors: space exploration. The Apollo 13 crisis pushed Kranz and his team to the brink of fear and doubt, but they refused to give in to these emotions or to succumb to panic. Instead, under his leadership, they worked together to save the imperiled spacecraft, and brought the ship and crew safely home. Kranz speaks with a raw brilliance about the challenges and problems that they successfully faced and overcame, giving his audiences the inspiration that they need to face down challenges and adversity in their own lives and careers.