Want to Accomplish Your Own Moonshot? Look to These ‘Apollo 11’ Lessons:
These 3 strategies used by NASA and its astronauts can help modern-day entrepreneurs make giant leaps of their own.
What do you call a far-reaching goal that seems impossible to attain? Had you lived 50 years ago and answered that same question, you might have used the same term we use today: moonshot.
In fact, half a century ago, that word came into vogue as America diligently worked toward not just safely putting a man on the moon but bringing him home in one piece. This week, we’re observing the 50th anniversary of our nation’s history-making Apollo 11 landing, celebrating with educational programs and, here and there, whimsical parties and events.
Yet, to the men and women all those decades ago who were tasked with making the original moonshot happen, things probably seemed a bit more grim. This had to do with the fact that achieving the atomic goal before them meant solving a series of problems that must have seemed … endless.
What the moonshot can teach us
1. Big ideas with tight deadlines drive achievement.
America’s goal was to send a man to the moon by the end of the 1960s. Having a deadline that tight is what pushed everyone to pull off such a huge coup. Without deadlines in place, priorities tend to slip, and inventive thinking tends to go by the wayside.
2. Well-known strategies keep everyone churning.
When everyone knows their organization’s goal, they can see how their small accomplishments contribute to the whole. A fantastic story from the early years of the space race shows how everyone can get motivated if they know why their work is critical.
That story? According to legend, President John F. Kennedy visited a NASA hangar. There, he asked a janitor what he was doing. In response, the janitor simply replied that he was putting a man on the moon. His response showed that he wasn’t just toiling for a paycheck but for a purpose.
3. Working directly with internal resources can align visions.
Siloed teams can put a serious halt to forward movement of a weighty dream. At NASA, departments worked together to achieve micro-goals that applied to the larger picture. If you want team cohesion and unity, foster pathways and communication between and among all the individuals and groups that need to come together to breathe life into the larger vision.