The Boeing Leadership Center opened in St. Louis in 1999. It is a private institution that Boeing corp sends its middle managers to to learn how to middle manage more effectively. What exactly they are actually managing, no one seems to know. These people all work in office buildings, and Boeing builds airplanes, not offices. So this thick layer of management is a real mystery to me.

I encounter this place fairly frequently because of my employer. So I can say this truthfully. It is a huge money hole for Boeing and by extension the Us Government, which is Boeing's biggest customer. Boeing will literally spend 4000-5000 dollars to send a low level manager halfway across the country to take a 1 day class. When they could have probably watched a video for the same effect. Or they could have simply not spent any money at all, and funnelled that money somewhere else. Perhaps into building better aircraft. The last time I checked, improving "management skills" did not in any way translate to an improved airplane. Training your designers and assembly line workers would do that. But, of course the management are the ones that make all the decisions, so they prefer to spend the extra money on a vacation-like "training facility with an open bar, instead of doing something that would actually help the company. If you don't know how to middle manage by the time you become a middle manager, then you are never going to learn it anyway. They might as well just pull people off the street and send them to the school instead!

Many of these "students" still don't understand computers, despite the fact that Boeing has been using computers for quite some time. Of course they don't teach computer skills at the Leadership Center. They teach things like "How to run meetings more effectively", and we all know how important meetings are to the corporate world. Much more important than actually knowing how to use the computer that they pay you $90,000 a year to sit behind.

From Boeing's Website.
Located north of St. Louis on a bluff above the Missouri River, the 286-acre campus is isolated enough that attendees are free from interruptions. All amenities for daily living are taken care of so that Boeing leaders can take advantage of this rare moment in their career when they are "unplugged" from the daily demands of leadership. They are here to learn.

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