Running a business involves a lot of moving parts. Who understands that more than NASA? Take a look at the lessons you can learn from NASA below and how they can help you improve your own business. (Aerospace engineering degrees are not required.)
Trial and Error
It may not be a good habit to use outside of work, but looking for the worst thing that could happen may help your business prevent future disasters. NASA uses the same approach. The space program isn’t afraid to test, test, and try again before declaring a product ready for launch.
After all, NASA has had more than a few failures, yet learned something along the way. NASA faces huge potential loss and possesses a public face with enormous reach, but they don’t get stuck in analysis and testing either. The NASA team considers what went wrong and what can go wrong and develops ways to fix potential problems so they can stay on schedule. Breaking big problems into small chunks can be helpful for any business.
Some companies micromanage their employees, potentially causing a toxic work environment and high turnover. The bottom line is that nothing gets done easily because no one has the freedom to complete tasks or tweak projects on their own. Autonomy is a big deal. The best test of authentic leadership is a top-down approach.
NASA organizes inter-department teams with the same method. Everyone has a job to do. These people share a common goal and perform their work with support from leadership — not interference. Giving the team leeway to problem-solve on their own can help those brilliant minds develop valuable ideas. Don’t let micromanaging stand in the way of what your business can become.
Your business doesn’t have to do it all. Even NASA understands the importance of choosing the best products for the job. It doesn’t always mean those products come from the same place either — value what you have and look outside your business for what you don’t.
Look for reliable suppliers who provide the customer service you want with your desired product. You need a company that has perfected its craft. After all, a subpar item, even something as small as standard or nonstandard-sized o-rings or grommets, plays too crucial a role in the end product to be overlooked.
In the case of the Apollo 13 CO2 scrubber, the NASA team had to literally fit a round peg in a square hole. They didn’t look at what something did; the team looked at what something could be. With limited supplies, they had to think beyond the immediate use of an item to fix the problem.
They approached the issue with creativity and teamwork, ultimately saving three astronauts’ lives in the process. While your business may not have life or death situations, it helps to consider the parts of your business in a different light to keep it growing. How can you take what you have or do and apply it in a new way?
NASA is a global leader in space exploration. There is no end to the insights you can glean from this model of teamwork and innovation. Trust your employees, don’t get mired in analysis, and turn to outside contractors to get the job done and keep the creativity flowing. Treat your business like NASA, and who knows how you’ll fly?