BLOG: Why business people should be a bit more like astronauts
British astronaut Tim Peake reached a life-long goal when he launched into space, and Appco UK believes his experience can serve as inspiration for young entrepreneurs and business leaders.
The 44-year-old blasted off into space in December for a six-month stay at the International Space Station after dedicating years of his life to preparing for the mission.
Space station orbiting Earth
As well as having to learn about space law, rocket propulsion and spaceflight engineering, his intensive training included other unusual challenges, such as learning to speak Russian, mastering underwater “spacewalking”, living and working in a huge underground cave in Sardinia and achieving peak (no pun intended) physical fitness.
Clearly, you don’t just decide you want to be an astronaut and then find yourself rocketing towards Mars. It has been an incredibly long road for Major Peake to get where he is right at this moment, and it required years of focus, determination and sacrifice.
But while the difficulties before and during the mission have been clear, Major Peake’s attitude has remained unfailingly positive – and this is also a particularly important trait for business owners.
Appco founder Chris Niarchos describes the ability to stay optimistic as essential for both owners and those they are leading.
“Being able to remain upbeat even when addressing potentially significant problems enables leaders to maintain high levels of morale among their colleagues and it contributes to a more positive company culture overall,” Chris wrote in a recent blog.
“This can help leaders to steer their companies through the bad times as well as the good and it makes it easier to recruit and retain the people who are most suited to your business.”
As well as demonstrating the value of hard work and determination, Major Peake’s enthusiastic updates from space are a reminder of the sheer enjoyment we can obtain from reaching our goals.
“It’s been a lifelong passion. From an early age I just used to gaze at the stars and wonder about what was out there, and what stars and planets were made of,” he said before the mission.
A round window on a space station with a view of Earth below
He described his first hour and 48 minutes aboard the ISS as “busy but incredible” and later said life in orbit “was absolutely spectacular”.
Speaking about what it takes to be an astronaut, Major Peake drew on qualities transferable across many industries, pinpointing hard work, communication and teamwork as key attributes.
In business, good communication is crucial in liaising not only with clients and customers, but also within your company.
Chris encourages business owners to nurture talent within their company by setting up effective two-way communication procedures, including regular appraisals.
“These sessions can help people to identify their strengths and weaknesses and they foster a culture of accountability and openness,” he says.
“People are likely to feel happier and perform better if there is an established system in place for getting guidance and feedback.”