Business Success – Lessons from an Astronaut (part 2)

27th May 2015

Following on from my earlier blog post about my excellent present from my wife (Chris Hadfield’s ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth’) here’s part 2 of how I think it’s got some good pointers for those in the business world.

In that first blog post I looked at 3 points.  Here I’m just going to look at one.  It’s a biggie, and it’s this:


It runs a bit contrary to what we’re often told – to focus on the upside, to envisage a land flowing in milk and honey where business success surrounds us and we and our businesses are everything we want us and them to be.

Chris Hadfield, though, makes the point that real business confidence comes, not from ignoring the negative or risky parts of what we do, but only after we have looked the problems in the face and figured out how we can get over them if they occur.

As Chris himself puts it:

“Truly being ready means understanding what could go wrong – and having a plan to deal with it…Being forced to confront the prospect of failure head-on really works…you’ve forged the strongest possible armour to defend against fear: hard-won competence.”

What if you take that new employee on with the expectation of increasing sales, only to see sales drop by 10% in the next quarter?  Can you cope?  Can you survive?

Is the accounting software you use giving you the accurate and up-to-date info that you need to take things forward?  If it isn’t, then don’t bury your head in the sand.  Do something about it.

Look at each aspect of your business.  Where are the potential problems?  If it’s going to go wrong, where’s it going to go wrong?  And what can you do here and now to plan and prepare for that happening?

Once the plans are in place, once the bad things are out in the shadows and fully prepared for, you’ll sleep a lot easier.

That’s the power of negative thinking.