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Shoot For The Moon – Lessons From Neil Armstrong

Posted January 7th, 2013 by bbsadmin & filed under General Business, Motivation.

Setting high goals and expectations has often been referred to as “shooting for the moon”. Businesses can learn from someone who set high expectations and achieved them.

1. Risk management

Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. Think of the many risks that were involved in this. It is important to realize that both Armstrong and many others prepared for the risks ahead. Armstrong had served as a naval aviator and had done much research for NASA before he left. He also had the support of the space station throughout the process. Business owners understand that many of the activities involved in adding value to the business are tied to risk. In fact, running the business itself is a risk. The key to managing risks like Armstrong is to plan ahead and have support throughout the execution of the risky activity.

2. Testing assumptions

Consider that first step out on the moon. He had to be willing to take the risk and test all the theories that led to the assumption that the mission was possible. He had to be prepared for any possible outcome, but when it came down to it, he had to make the decision to perform regardless of the outcomes he may not have known. In business we must be willing to test many assumptions. There are so many factors that it is impossible for one to have every bit of information about a business decision. At some point you will have to take a step out of the spacecraft and be willing to risk those things you didn’t know that you didn’t know.

3. Value of knowledge through experience

Neal Armstrong’s experience gave valuable knowledge. It was completely unique. He was not only the first to walk on the moon but was one of the few who had that opportunity in his time. While scientists could reason about how it could work and pictures and films could be made, only he and his crew would have that unique perspective of walking on the moon. Think about this in terms of your customers. Those who have experienced your product or service have the perspective of its value. As much as you advertise and explain the benefits, that perspective cannot be transferred completely to the customer until he or she receives it first-hand. This demonstrates the importance of the first-time use of the product by the customers.

4. Stop and take samples

As exciting as the experience on the moon was, the crew stopped to take samples. The samples could be used for further research and understanding. The lesson to us as business leaders is simple. Though we must move forward to meet our business goals, it is important to realize that we can learn a great deal as we move forward if we stop and take samples. If we don’t take samples, we may not completely understand if there are correlations in our actions and the outcomes we desire. Remember the value of data. If you don’t collect relevant data and test that data, you may be doing things that are wasting time and money without being aware of it.

5. Small and simple things

Armstrong and his crew had months of preparations for the mission to the moon. The journey to the moon lasted several days, but they stayed on the moon was only a few hours. Consider how this “small step” influenced the world. As a business leader, you need to remember the value of the small things. A couple hours could change the course of your business. If the astronauts had been a few degrees off their mark toward the moon, a couple of days later they could have been much further off from their mark. Let’s look at customer service as an example. Can you think of a business that you would not care to do business with because of poor customer service? This business probably lost your business because of one or a few small instances. They may have lost potential business of the friends who heard about your experience.

Notable Quotes

“This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”

“ Believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.”

“I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges.”

Works Cited

Brainy Quotes. Neil Armstrong. 27 October 2012. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/n/neil_armstrong.html.