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Bite-size Case Study

Making the leap from average to great: the Apollo story

Published on March 31, 2019 Originally recorded 2012   9 min
0:04
.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................... So we start with two givens. The first given is that there are enormous gaps between the great and the average. The second given is that it's possible for the average to become truly great and that leaves us with the question. If you're average, how do you make the leap? In fact, if you want to be really great, how do you make a giant leap?
0:22
So if the question is how do you make giant leaps, let's think about a giant leap. Back in 1961, President Kennedy stood before a joint session of Congress and declared the following, that the United States would send a man to the moon by the end of the decade and return him safely to Earth.
0:39
So in 1961, President Kennedy made the challenge, get a man to the moon and return him safely to Earth by the end of the decade and by the end of the decade, exactly that happened. Neil Armstrong declared that the "Eagle had landed". He opened the hatch to the capsule, stepped out of the lunar excursion module, put a foot down on the surface of the moon and said, "A small step for man, a giant leap for mankind." Now here's the question. What was the giant leap? And I encourage you to think real hard, what was the giant leap? Because bearing in mind if everything was known that needed to be known to get to the moon and back safely, it would have been done in 1961, we wouldn't have had to wait to nearly the end of the decade.
1:18
So when most people start answering the question, what was the giant leap? They'll rattle around well, it was a giant leap in technology, it was a giant leap in this, there was a commitment, there was a vision. But, when you really start pushing and pushing, it actually becomes hard for people to identify the giant leap. In fact for a very simple reason, there was no giant leap, it was a hop, skip, and jump. Before Neil Armstrong was able to fly an Apollo spacecraft with his colleagues to the moon, it was first the Mercury Program and the Gemini Program. So it wasn't a single leap, it was a bunch of leaps to get us there.
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Making the leap from average to great: the Apollo story

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