This week I listened to Buzz Aldrin talked about his decent onto the moon with Apollo 11 how the computer took most of the decent then they went to manual control.
There is a famous comms message that comes from Houston advising the crew they have just 30 secs left of fuel! All sorts of alarms are sounding as the computer is trying to take over. But they kept their nerve and landed successfully on the moon.
NASA didn’t fly to the moon just in one go, what they did was a step by step progression. Through these steps they learnt more and more about to to achieve success in the programme. They built on their experience as the went one flight further up to the moon.
But they did made mistakes. with some were unfortunately fatal however, others inspired them to some outstanding problem solving and creativity.
Two flights after Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong’s historic step on the moon, Apollo 13 had a a oxygen storage unit explode 2 days into the mission. I am sure you have seen the movie with Tom Hanks and how they managed to return safely back to earth.
As a business I know I will make mistakes, some little and some major ones. I know that some will cost money and some make me wonder what I am doing.
At lot of people would suggest making mistakes is not what a business should let happen to them. It’s because the fear of failure and being judged by others or the fear of exposure and being seen as weak or incompetent.
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein
As any business needs to take risks to make a business grow, in doing so they need to acknowledge that they will make mistakes. Its part of being human.
Mistakes can be good for a business because they are about learning, about yourself, the industry and being a business. They help refine the way we do things, by making us look at what we did, how we did it, and showing us how to improve for the future.
They make use creative ways to solve the problem – just remember how Apollo 13 solved the CO2 filter issue.
Luckily we don’t make mistakes often, when we do we just need to what happened and why and add it to the bank of knowledge.
“I have learned all kinds of things from my many mistakes. The one thing I never learn is to stop making them.” Joe Abercrombie, Last Argument of Kings
PS: Part of the story Buzz told that evening was a story I don’t think many knew about. Just two hours prior to Buzz and Neil Armstrong were to leave the moon, Russia tried to land a unmanned module.
They were trying to take the shin off the Americans landing. What happened was instead of slowing down it accelerated and crashed. It too didn’t stop them, they went on to later land an unmanned craft and return to earth with some moon rocks.