Built to Learn - The Inside Story of How Rockwell Collins Became a True Learning Organization

Cliff Purington
Chris Butler with
Sarah Fister Gale
American Management Association
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 Purington, Cliff, 1944-      Built to learn : the inside story of how Rockwell Collins became a   true learning organization / Cliff Purington and Chris Butler with   Sarah Fister Gale.       p. cm. 
ISBN 0-8144-0772-2 (hardcover)

1. Organizational learning. 2. Organizational change. 3. Strategic planning. 4. Employees ”Training of. 5. Collins Defense Communications. I. Butler, Chris, 1945- II. Fister Gale, Sarah, 1968- III. Title.

HD58.82.P87 2003

658.4'06 ”dc21


Copyright 2003 Cliff Purington and Chris Butler

All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America.

This publication may not be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted in whole or in part,
in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise ,
without the prior written permission of AMACOM,
a division of American Management Association,
1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

Printing number

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

This book is dedicated to all the people who have shared their life experiences and provided me the guidance that has contributed to my personal and professional growth; especially to Rebecca, my wife, who has always been my number one fan and gave me the courage to think outside of the box. Thank you Rebecca.
”Cliff Purington

To Elizabeth, for whom all books were precious ”especially this one. I know you would have been proud.
”Chris Butler

About the Authors

Cliff Purington has been working in the Organization Development and Learning space for over twenty-two years . He started his career as an air traffic controller in 1966, working his way up to a superintendent in one of the busiest radar approach controls in the country. In 1979, he decided to change careers: He completed his graduate degree and was trained in the Air Force as an organizational development consultant.

Cliff was assigned to Air University and traveled around the world providing combat readiness assessments and consultation to senior Air Force commanders. He also lectured at the Air War College and authored numerous papers on leadership and management.

Cliff joined Martin Marietta in 1984 as the manager of training and development in their New Orleans Space Shuttle facility. While working with Martin, Cliff led numerous change-management initiatives in Denver and Cape Canaveral. He reengineered the Titan IV production line in response to a national security issue arising from the Challenger disaster. He has worked on mergers and acquisitions with a focus on streamlining and improving production and launch of space vehicles and satellites .

In 1993 he left Martin Marietta to cofound and lead the design, development, and sale of a revolutionary Internet-based learning software system. He sold his share of the company in 1998.

He is currently the director of learning and development at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cliff manages the development and implementation of an award-winning, multi-million-dollar worldwide learning environment, which includes conventional, virtual, computer-based, and Web-based training and learning. He was recognized by ComputerWorld as a 1999 Premier IT Leader for his innovation and application of technology.

Cliff has a masters degree in business and a bachelors degree in engineering from Southern Illinois University. He is married to Rebecca Long and has a son Grant. His most memorable experience was as a bodyguard for the Queen of Libya.

Chris Butler has more than twenty-four years of experience in management consulting in addition to twelve years as a manager at different organizational levels within private industry. He is a member of numerous professional and civic organizations and has served in a leadership capacity in several community organizations.

Chris has managed a number of organizations and has trained over 5,000 managers and salespeople in a classroom environment. His management experience includes the clothing manufacturing industry, industrial sanitation, the printing industry, and numerous consulting engagements in a broad variety of industries. In addition, he has authored several texts and numerous proprietary training programs.

Chris is president and cofounder of The Performance Engineering Group, Inc. As such, he has served as principal consultant on a variety of engagements that required his broad technical expertise. He has successfully completed consulting assignments in such diverse areas as mining, aerospace, telecommunications, high-tech electronic manufacturing, building materials manufacturing, city and state government, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals .

Chris specializes in helping client firms manage change, working closely with them to lessen the impact of unexpected change and helping to initiate major organizational change. He has been a principal consultant along with other Performance Engineering Group consultants while Rockwell Collins has undergone profound changes and has worked closely with Cliff Purington from the inception of the project laid out in this book to this day.


We would like acknowledge the Rockwell Collins department of learning and development. The entire change initiative was successful only because of the risk taking, dedication, and very hard work of these consummate professionals. Steve Junion, Jim Kalisch, Greg Schaefer, Margaret Flynn, Damita Wash, Tracy Covington, Pamela Johnson, and Teresa Ulrich are the people who made it all happen.

”Cliff Purington and Chris Butler

This book would not have been possible without the support and understanding of my wife Carol and my son Nicholas. She kept the home fires burning while I traveled extensively in order to see this very demanding project through. Nicholas always greeted me with a beautiful smile and the warmest of hugs whenever I returned home from my travels .

Thank you.

”Chris Butler

Built to Learn. The Inside Story of How Rockwell Collins Became a True Learning Organization
Built to Learn: The Inside Story of How Rockwell Collins Became a True Learning Organization
ISBN: 0814407722
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 124

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