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"It's not rocket science. Oh, wait..."
I’m a space nerd. I love watching launches. So, I feel a little bummed out about this morning’s scrub.
However, this delay (next launch window is lunchtime on Friday) is a valuable reminder to make the “go/no-go” call based on reality, and not what we hope or wish was real. The flight controller scrubbed the launch because there was a fuel problem. This was the right call.
As leaders, we need to be positive. We need to keep up a “gentle push” for our people to keep things moving forward. But we also need to balance that out. Don’t let “go fever” override genuine concerns. Figure out what you want to do, and develop a vision for that achievement. Share that vision and build buy-in. But don’t forget to think about what could go wrong, and develop plans for workarounds. NASA learned from Apollo I and the Challenger disaster. They learned rocket science is complex and unforgiving, and people who cut corners or push beyond the safety parameters can pay a terrible price.
What we do may not be rocket science, and lives might not be on the line if we test the limits. But we can learn from these high-stakes examples to balance dreaming big and pushing hard for success with reality-based backup plans. Artemis I will likely launch on Friday. That delay of a few days may make all the difference—it increases the odds that it will be remembered as the successful start of a new era of spaceflight, rather than a cautionary tale.
(Image source: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMLD0Lp0JBg)
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