A Moon Mission for the Best B-Schools

B-Schools! What’s Your Moon Mission?

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

-John F. Kennedy, speech to Congress, May 25, 1961

The Apollo Program ran from 1961 through 1975 and sent six manned missions to the Moon between 1969 and 1972. It stands alone as the best example of collaboration to achieve a breakthrough vision in all of human history.

Ken Cox, one of the lead engineers for the Moon Missions has been interviewed on many occasions regarding the Apollo programs.  He has repeatedly said that JFK’s vision and declared outcome above in essence represented the adventure of a lifetime; after all this was not a satellite, this was the Moon.  It was because of its boldness and grandness that aerospace engineers, scientists and managers were able to let go of their egos and personal self-serving agendas and collaborate.

The business world needs a moon mission that will likewise compel future MBAs to drop their often selfish and transactionally myopic (get the deal, do the deal, next deal) mindsets.

What would that moon mission be?  I will take a stab at it in hopes of stimulating a healthy debate, not just to allow others to one up me, but rather to come up with a disruptive vision so grand and bold that personal gain is eclipsed by the chance to be part of a new and different adventure of a lifetime.

Here’s my “moon” shot.  Please add your own comments. Tell me how you would fill in the blanks.

I believe that MBA programs should commit themselves to achieving the goal, before the upcoming decade is out, of creating a worldwide economy with complete, gainful and meaningful employment that creates sustainability and that provides consumers the means and desire to purchase products and services that continue to grow that economy.

I especially call upon and invite B-school deans to give it a shot. In fact, I think an annual conference should be started with the goal of an initial meeting to come up with a moon mission outcome for business and for the MBA programs that will supply the business leaders of tomorrow to lead that mission. Then, there needs to be subsequent annual meetings to keep the deans’ and their schools’ feet to the fire and accountable for reaching this Moon.

Mark Goulston, M.D. is Vice Chairman of Steele Partners,  an integrity based business strategic advisory company founded by its Chairman Lt. General Marty Steele (former COO of the USMC) and CEO, Colonel Tom Tyrrell (former senior advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff).  Dr. Goulston is the author of the #1 international best selling book, “Just Listen” (Amacom, 2010). Contact him at: mgoulston@steelepartners.com.

  • Mark-Goulston

    Thank you Eslam. Very valid point about stating measurable objectives. So what do you suggest they might be? For instance, what would be an outcome that if reached would result in complete, gainful and meaningful employment?

    For instance, by way of analogy, if a Moon mission for education would be that every child in America would finish high school and be proficient in reading and writing and math and science at a high school level. What outcome would guarantee that. I might say:
    a) That every child wants to learn and become proficient in those subjects.
    b) That when they want to learn, teachers who want to teach and books, internet available materials and other resources are made available.
    c) That every parent wants their children to get an education and demonstrates that by proactively scheduling time for their child to pursue that.
    etc.

  • Eslam Almohandes

    i have a small comment on the decade goal. the goal you stated can not be reached because these are extend-able words changes with user experience, competition and new technologies.on the other side; Apollo goal can be reached when we succeeded in sending humans to the moon and get them back safely. by which factors you will measure gainful and meaningful employment that creates sustainability and that provides consumers the means and desire to purchase products and services that continue to grow that economy. everyday you provide new ways the user experience increase and users demand new things. i believe in your idea but i think that we have to state measurable objectives that we can met in the end of the decade