In Apollo 13, the 1995 Hollywood movie, there’s a scene that’s considered one of the most intense and thrilling in the history of movie-making.
A recreation of a situation the team of astronauts on the real Apollo 13 had to deal with and overcome, it shows the moment when the crew is notified they’ll need to correct course without the assistance of the computer. The way they deal with this challenge will determine their ultimate survival, meaning the pressure the audience feels is quite genuine.
There are many analogies that can be drawn from this nail-biter of a scene.
While business owners and leaders of organizations aren’t in immediate danger of skipping off the earth’s atmosphere and never returning to the planet, they are used to facing challenges that might result in long-term impacts to their health and/or livelihoods.
Which Direction to Take?
These are uncertain times. One of the challenges we face is to sift through a mountain of problems and potential impacts to our businesses in order to find the fixed point in space toward which we can navigate.
When everything is pressing and urgent, how do we remain calm? How do we determine which pieces will be necessary for our survival?
After all, we have to:
- Understand government stimulus programs
- Figure out applications
- Determine where best to apply any assistance
The last point is an especially challenging hurdle. Leaders must:
- Objectively evaluate what aspect or division of the business has the capacity to keep functioning through difficult times
- Decide whether there’s any way to enhance this sector
Perhaps there were portions of the business that were viable prior to the pandemic but now must be placed on hold or even eliminated. Each consideration must be made with the best information possible, on a timeline that ensures the continuation of the entity.
Setting the Navigation
You must determine and focus upon a fixed point if your business is to survive. You might be inundated with other concerns, but deciding upon the core of your business will allow you to set navigation toward that point. Once the direction is set, then you can carefully consider and perform your next steps in a sequence that will result in the most positive outcome possible.
Partners You Can Trust
There’s another gripping scene in Apollo 13 where the crew is faced with rising CO2 levels. Even while making progress toward their goal, unintended hardships continue to arise.
The crew needs to rely on their trusted partners for support before they can take the necessary steps to resolve their life-threatening issue.
Leaders working their way through challenges related to the current COVID-19 crisis might also find that, even with their fixed point set and determined, challenges continue to arise. Preparation is important. However, so is support.
Enlisting the help of a trusted thought partner and/or leadership team is a critical step. These people can help you think clearly about what measures you should take and the order in which those measures will be most effective.
If you were to attempt to solve a challenging math problem, the order in which you undertook each step would determine your ultimate answer and whether or not it was correct. The same holds true in business. Thoughtfully sequencing steps during this crisis allows you to leverage each step for the most positive effect.
Ignoring sequencing, or not taking enough careful consideration, can have a less positive impact. After all, these steps are necessary for your business’s survival! The wrong order can even act as a detriment, preventing you from achieving your goals.
Focus on What Is Most Critical
In the moment of action, when you’re ready to put such steps into motion, remember to eliminate distractions and stay focused on what is most important. Your main job is simply the survival of your business. Once you’ve set the course for survival, then your thoughts can turn once again to innovation and enhancements that will again move your business toward prosperity.
As Apollo 13 concludes, the astronauts return safely to earth after their harrowing journey. The lessons learned while overcoming the crisis ended up helping NASA succeed in future missions. The quote, “this would be their finest hour,” was realized through thoughtful planning, teamwork, and persistence in the face of great difficulties.
Do you want to be a Fired Up leader? Our team would love to talk with you!
Tim, with his extensive background in education and management, is a great part of our Fired Up! team dedicated to inspiring teams and leaders. At Fired Up!, our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams, and align operation practices to engage organizations and drive breakthrough results.