14 May Lessons on getting to Mars
By Andrew MacKenzie
In preparation for a recent staff meeting I came across a YouTube video entitled Incredible Speech by Elon Musk. Out of curiosity I hit play, and for the next 10 minutes was gripped by this visionary. There is no doubt in my mind that he has not achieved the brilliant things that he has done, and built the fantastic businesses he leads, by being in the right place at the right time. All his success comes down to his work ethics, principles, and attitude.
Through SpaceX, Musk has a brave, purpose driven mission of colonizing Mars, and simply states “I will put man on Mars”. This is no small task, and is certainly a very bold purpose to drive a company behind, and to get staff to buy into.
He made a few key statements that apply to all business’s, no matter what the size.
The first was “I don’t give up, ever.” He talks to the fact that SpaceX had enough funding for three trial rocket launches. They all failed. He managed to scramble together enough funding and they launched a fourth time, with success. This secured a multi-billion-dollar deal with the US government. His tenacity and single minded goal to achieve what he had set out to achieve drove the belief of his entire team.
The second statement he made that had an impact on me was “I am available 24/7. Call me at 3am on Sunday morning.” This commitment demonstrates a rare trait in leaders.
He is prepared to lead by example. As a leader, never expect your staff to do something that you would not do yourself, lead from the front always, it builds respect and motivates.
The third statement was “Your product or service needs to be much better. Not a little bit better. Much better.” This understanding of how competitive it is in the market place differentiates brands and businesses from those that succeed and those that fail. Why be good when you can be great?
The fourth statement was “Give it everything you’ve got, no matter what the circumstances might be.” This talks to passion and drive. When a business, driven through it’s employees, gives 100% everyday you will not fail. The second portion of this statement is even bolder, “…no matter what the circumstances…”. When the odds are stacked against you, and the task at hand seems impossible, attitude is the only thing that will lead to success.
The last statement, and in my view the most important was “Like what you do.” It is impossible to give 100% to something that you don’t enjoy, and business success is based on this passion. When we work hard for something that we love doing, it’s called passion, and with passion any business will achieve so much more.
Elon Musk is a man on a mission, leading a team to achieve what most think is impossible, but I tell you what, I wouldn’t bet against him not putting that man on Mars.