Business Mentor tip #79 – If Apollo 11 can be 97.5% off course, so can you…

September 13, 2012Post by Laura Humphreys

You will know by now (if you’ve been reading my blogs or regular column in NZ Business Magazine; attending my talks or just following my random comments on Facebook or Twitter) that I am a dedicated believer in the power of forward planning.  To succeed you must have a clear goal and a plan to get there.  This I believe as strongly as I believe that Wellington is windy.  You must plan to build a great business.  It won’t happen by accident.

However, here’s something else that I believe with equal conviction  – your business plan will change along the way.  Once you’ve mapped out your direction, your business plan has to be flexible enough to allow you to adapt and correct as you go.  You must be willing to change your thinking and your model to keep abreast of the world we are living in.

In my soon to be released book The Liber8 Factor I talk about  how NASA used PERT (Performance Evaluation Review Technique) planning to put a man on a moon. How they set their end target then put their milestones in place. They began their planning in 1961 and gave themselves ten years to achieve their target (just as I did with my advertising agency and my goal to sell it). On July 16 1969, Apollo 11 was launched.  Four days later the lunar module, the Eagle, landed on the moon.

Do you know how much of the time the rocket was on track for its destination during those four days?


This means that 97.5% of the time the rocket was not on target.  So what on earth (or in space) was it doing?

It was correcting. As well planned as NASA ensured they were for that epic journey, they didn’t know exactly it would stay on track once it launched. They just knew it had to go in the right direction to reach the target.  Along the way it corrected and corrected, forming an imaginary zig zag pattern in space.

The lesson here is that it’s important to have an end goal and milestones but it’s equally important to keep reviewing and correcting as you go. You need to ensure your action steps to reach each milestone remain relevant to the trends and market influencers happening around you.

Goal. Plan. Review. Adapt. Got it?

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.