When JF Kennedy became president of the US in 1961, the country lagged well behind the Soviet Union in the space race. Yet, in May of that year, Kennedy announced to Congress his intention of putting a man the moon and returning them safely to Earth, before the end of the decade.
As we now know, in July 1969 Apollo 11 achieved that mission.
But what made JFK make such a seemingly audacious statement? Why announce such a public goal when you can’t be sure of success?
There were three factors at play. First, NASA had already persuaded the president that the goal was technically feasible and that there were no insurmountable technological barriers to success. Second, achieving the goal was within the control of the US and NASA; they were not reliant on external factors. And third, the very act of publicly stating the goal served to galvanise NASA, Congress and the whole country to the goal’s delivery, establishing accountability.
Over the past month, on a smaller but no less important matter, the UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has led a dramatic increase in the UK’s coronavirus testing capacity from around 10,000 tests per day to 100,000.
As with JFK, when Hancock stated his goal, he was met with scepticism from many quarters. But, as with the moon landings, the three factors of feasibility, control and galvanization/accountability were all in place, dramatically improving the project’s chances of success.
What ‘moonshots’ could your organization deliver this year? What are the feasible, if difficult, initiatives under your control that are simply waiting for your public statement of intent to galvanise both you and your organization to its delivery?
Off The Record: The Distance by Cake
The sun has gone down and the moon has gone up
And long ago somebody left with the cup
But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns
And think of someone for whom he still burns
He’s going the distance!
Succeeding Beyond The Coronavirus Pandemic
If you want to succeed in the post-COVID world you need to plan and act fast now to reshape your business to your new realities and opportunities. This white paper sets out the new business realities arising from the coronavirus pandemic and gives you a clear, 5-step process to reshape your strategy and accelerate your success as we come out of the crisis.
© Stuart Cross 2020. All rights reserved.