The Dark Side of the Moon

“We choose to go to the moon.”

President John F. Kennedy spoke these words on September 12, of 1962.  The bewildered crowd of 35,000 people rose up in anger, wondering why he would set such an irrational goal. They threw tomatoes, screamed obscenities and objections and lit the stadium on fire. “It can’t be done!” “You must be crazy!” “We don’t have the technology!” As a result, the goal of landing on the moon was scrapped forever.

Well, okay. I lied. It didn’t really happen that way.

But can you imagine what the world would be like today if it had? We might never have benefited from the many inventions that came from the program. Some examples are pumps for the artificial heart, memory foam, freeze-dried food, wireless devices, even Dustbusters. (It is a myth that Tang and Velcro were the result of the space program.)

It’s hard enough to make change at some organizations without mutiny. Imagine setting a goal as great as landing on the moon!

Just bring up the word “change” and your staff could be like rats on ice, trying desperately to skitter away as fast as they can. So how did the scientists succeed? They didn’t choose to go to the moon; no, that was too big of a project. Instead, they chose to identify and solve the many small challenges that made up that one fearsome challenge.

Here’s how to achieve your goal despite objections from your team.

The wall represents the barrier we instinctively put up between ourselves and our successes. When challenged, it is natural for the mind to build this wall from myriad problems that immediately present themselves. Each problem raised is like a brick. One brick is placed upon another until the wall seems insurmountable, and we give up.

You can breach this wall. First, identify each “brick” that impedes your progress. Bring your resources to bear upon just a few of these bricks, and you will find the whole wall crumbling before you.

Here’s what to do.

  1. Prepare your team. Explain that a big challenge is ahead and that cool heads will prevail.
  2. Revive the past. Bring up significant past challenges that were successfully overcome by teamwork.
  3. State the challenge. Make it brief. Make it clear.
  4. Hear every objection. Present the concept of the great wall. Without any discussion, (you must moderate this!) list each concern, or brick, for all to see.
  5. Prioritize by importance and by difficulty. As a team, pick the first “bricks” to destroy.
  6. Devise possible solutions for each selected brick. Ask, “How can we..?”
  7. Prioritize and create an action plan. Who is responsible? When is it due?

Like the goal of landing on the moon, your fearsome challenge is not a singular entity. It is nothing more than a number of smaller problems that need your attention. Objections are the dark side of any significant challenge. But those objections can be overcome by destroying the obstacle, one brick at a time.


This entry was posted in 3. The Power of Capacity, 6. The Power of Concentration of Force and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Dark Side of the Moon

  1. Elaine Savoldi says:

    Great post. I have watched great ideas get shot down by those who could not understand how to achieve the vision. . .or who did understand what needed to be done but did not want to rise to the challenge because they were too comfortable.

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