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Thousands of years ago, people could only get around on foot. They could cover maybe 15-20 miles with a good dirt road.
Horses came and enabled people to cover 20-100 miles per day.
Then some serious stuff arrived:
Boats. Out on the ocean. Cruising 24x7, non-stop to the destination. People might cover 200 miles or more a day.
Trains arrived. Moving faster now.
Automobiles. Faster still –and introduces the ability to go to more places.
Airplanes – really taking travel by storm. A jet can circle the world in a day.
But who has the prime seat? The championship ring? Who is the blue-ribbon prize-winner of travel?
So let’s look at what the astronaut does.
This little guy or gal stands next to a structure nearly 20 stories tall. They climb into a little cockpit and strap tightly into a seat in the nose of this structure, with 2000 tons of liquid fuel at their back.… surrounded by hundreds of specialists, radar tracking systems, communication systems, guidance systems, life support systems, computing systems, systems to monitor the systems.
An engineer flips a switch...
And in 3 days…
This person can travel to the moon.
No other traveler can touch that.
What is the lesson of the astronaut?
The Astronaut gives up total control – and through complete trust in the people and instruments that have been put in place by them, the Astronaut accomplishes a milestone that literally moves mankind out of this world.
Through that trust, that total loss of control, the Astronaut becomes the most powerful traveler that has every lived.
The key to the Astronaut remedy is found through favoring trust over fear in your decision-making processes. Fear drives a scarcity mentality, which causes team members to hunker down, preparing for the worst. Trust enables a creative mastery of situations, allowing for growth and expansion.
Entrepreneurs would do well to master the Astronaut’s control through influence. By expanding one’s influence, they also expand their sphere of indirect control. By giving up direct control in favor of influence or indirect control, an individual can create a multiplier effect on their intentions. Multipliers translate into higher productivity, greater sales and a multitude of other important business results.
It is akin to asking the question:
“Would you rather have a smaller slice of an enormous pie, or own the whole pie that is tiny?” To illustrate the point, a one percent share of Microsoft today is worth over $2.5 Billion.
An entrepreneur can control:
1) what they give up,
2) to whom and
This remedy requires careful consideration of the three factors outlined above.
1) What they give up. You should always perform to your strengths. If you have a strength, but lack experience, then bring on a mentor. If you have a blind-spot in an area, then fill it with an experienced and skilled person. Sweet Spot analysis can help with deciding what you should give up. Its okay to want to communicate and be informed, but don’t stifle your opportunity to grow by trying to have it both ways. Once you’ve given responsibility to someone else, you must give them the leeway they need to do their job. Otherwise, you never really gave it up.
2) to Whom. Since trust is a key enabler of this remedy, the people you turn your keys over to must be trust-worthy. Are they predictable in their behaviors? Do they operate with integrity? If you can’t answer these questions, then you probably need more time operating with them before turning over major responsibilities. Cultivate a network of people you can trust. You never know when you’ll need to tap them to step up a level.
3) When. Often, the time to release and trust is when it is most frightening. This is because your business may have reached a crisis point. You are faced with a dilemma that ultimately stems from your growth, or lack of growth, and must make a hard choice. Free yourself by giving up something and use the new-found time to go deeper and wider in the areas you maintain for yourself.
Examples of the Astronaut include:
Entrepreneurs who share generous amounts of equity with team members
Entrepreneurs who bring in an expert CEO to run their company
Senior Managers who delegate responsibility broadly and decisively
The Astronaut pattern description provides a table of Scarcity vs. Abundance theory as well as some additional details about this piece of startup advice.