November  2008     Edition 43
The Moon Shot - May 25, 1961

May 25, 1961.  On this day, President John F. Kennedy announced

the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade, and on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon's surface and declared, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.

So what were people thinking?

  On that day in 1961 when the “Moon Shot” was declared, I wonder how many people and companies gathered around and asked “how is that decision going to impact us”?  If you were working in aerospace, or new materials, or electronics, or weather forecasting, or air conditioning and heating systems, or food delivery systems, or even the toy or souvenir industry, and you had that conversation, then over the next decade your business probably did a lot better than those companies that didn’t have that conversation.

Fast forward to 2009 and a new Administration

– The list of “Moon Shot” initiatives is long:  addressing the wars in the Middle East, terrorism, the mortgage and lending crises, a world-wide recession, global warming, the National Debt, a desire to change the healthcare system, fix the auto and airline industries, improve the education system, cure cancer (I’m sure you could add other “Moon Shots” to this list).

Ask 4 Questions to Prepare:

  While not all of these will be addressed at the same time, and even in the next administration, you can bet on the fact that some of them will be declared a “Moon Shot”, and over a period of time, they will be addressed and accomplished.  So, with that assumption, are you thinking about how these “Moon Shots” will affect you, your family, your job and your company?  You can do this by asking four questions:

-  How might you be affected by them?
-  How can you prepare for them?
-  How can you contribute to them?
-  How can you benefit from them?

It doesn’t matter

if you’re an alternative energy company, or big oil, or in finance, or consumer products or services.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in R&D, customer care, marketing or operations.  These “Moon Shots” will affect everyone, and those who think critically about how things might play out, will certainly have an advantage over those who don’t..

The Takeaway:
While you can’t plan for everything, and most of the 2009 initiatives are still in the content of speeches, you can bet on a few things; Some of them will absolutely happen, and those who pro-actively think about how they can both be a part of it and leverage it, will be better off then those who are left catching up later.

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