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Could you get someone on to the moon?

It is now almost 50 years since we landed a man on the moon. Imagine that this was your responsibility. How would you go about ensuring its success? Is there any difference between the success of landing someone on the moon and your business operation? The scale of the operation will be very different, the costs will be very different but the principles of success are the same. I have been reminding myself of these principles by reading a series of articles from the March 1970 issue of Astronautics and Aeronautics. It is entitled "What made Apollo a success?". Sticking with the astronautical metaphors, “there is nothing new under the sun”, there is much that made the Apollo 11 mission a succ

When times get difficult, stay focused

When I first read Built To Last, the book by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, I was mesmerised. It was based on six years of intensive study of exceptional companies like Hewlett-Packard, 3M, Motorola, Procter & Gamble, Merck, Nordstrom, Sony, Disney, Marriott, and Wal-Mart. They had all shown phenomenal growth and had been around for an average of nearly 100 years. They had performed 15 times better than the overall stock market since 1926. They are still good companies and some of them perform well today. However, some of them (not least Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, and Sony) have had their problems. The frameworks that Collins and Porras claimed marked these companies out as being built to las

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