Leadership / Management | Technology & Social Media

The secret of getting there? Deciding to go.


What do wannabe science geeks like me do in the middle of the night when the rest of the family is asleep?

We grab our iPads and watch NASA rovers land on Mars.

And man, what a cool experience that was. Using NASA's free app, I watched all of the Aug. 5 drama live from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, right down to the wild celebration that broke out when word came back from Mars that the Curiosity rover had landed safely and the first photos were transmitted back to Earth.

Think about that for a second. Let it really sink in.

Scientists sent a one-ton, car-sized robot with 10 state-of-the-art scientific instruments aboard on an eight-month journey to Mars, sent it plunging into the Martian atmosphere at 13,200 miles per hour, then slowed it down with parachutes and a rocket-powered "sky crane" that gently lowered the rover to the surface of the planet. It was a never-before-tried landing that required the use of 79 rockets and other explosive devices that had to be fired in exactly the right sequence. One mistake and the $2.5 billion project would fail.

Did anyone really think they were going to fail, though? I mean, come on -- we're talking about the same group that repeatedly sent teams of men to the moon and brought them safely back again. This rover thing was, comparably speaking, a walk in the park.

It reminds me of that Tom Hanks line from the film "Apollo 13." Hanks, playing astronaut Jim Lovell, said this about the first moon landing: "It's not a miracle. We just decided to go."

That makes all of our problems seem so ... well, little, doesn't it? Think about the things that are bugging you right now -- stuff like succession planning, generational issues, social media, technology, globalization, lifelong learning. We don't need miracles to solve this stuff. We just need to decide to go.

To make that decision, we need to see these things as priorities -- and we already do. Results from the CPA Horizons 2025 project tell us that these are among the issues that are keeping CPAs up at night.

What's the cost of not addressing these things? Irrelevancy. Marginalization. Extinction.

Is that where you want to go? I didn't think so.

So fire up those rockets, folks. It's time to go to Mars.

It won't take a miracle to get there. All you need is the self-confidence that comes with knowing you're doing the right thing.


Bill Sheridan