Destination: Success | A Man on the Moon


An engaged team put a man on the moon!

There is a predictable model for team success leading to amazing results. Let's explore the formula for success one team used to literally put a man on the moon. 

When President John F. Kennedy first announced that America was going to send a man to the moon, most thought that it was impossible and insane and predictably asked, "Why?". But alas, we know (or most of us know) that he did it!

The formula for success President Kennedy used? 

Purpose + Behavior + Commitment + Support = Amazing Things

First have a purpose.  It must be compelling, relevant, and go beyond just performing or completing a task. The purpose established by JFK – “Put a man on the moon and return safely by the end of the decade”. Now that was a clear and compelling purpose.

The second element of the formula for team success – behavior. To enable success, a team must identify and consistently display enabling team behaviors. For the Apollo team, they didn’t focus on obstacles, they focused on opportunity. It was about the mission and not personal gain.  They worked as one to achieve the purpose and never lost sight of what was truly important. That team had the right behaviors.


The mission required the third element of the success formula; commitment. Not just commitment from the three astronauts who risked their lives, and as a result, became national hero’s either. No, it was the thousands of NASA employees dedicating their lives to the purpose. Even when tragedy struck the program in 1967 and three astronauts lost their lives on the launch pad, commitment to the purpose never wavered. In fact, that incident rallied NASA to ensure that the sacrifice of human lives would not be in vain. It takes real commitment to ensure team success.

And finally, it takes support to succeed. President Kennedy made an appeal to both Congress and the American people on May 25, 1961. “I believe 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 Earth”. The men and women of NASA had the support of the President and now an entire nation.

Because the team had a compelling purpose, showed the right behaviors, were committed to success, and had the support it needed, on July 20, 1969 at 10:56 PM Astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped off the lunar module ladder and planted his foot on the powdery surface. Then on July 24, 1969 the space capsule safely splashed down, completing Apollo 11’s mission and realizing the dreams of a nation.


For more information on how to more actively engage in your organization join our DESTINATION: SUCCESS page, or contact us!


Cornerstone Learning is a performance and leadership consulting organization that has worked with clients all over the world. Our focus is working with individuals and organizations to create performance solutions that deliver top-tier results by inspiring, enabling, and developing employee-led, leader supported, and organization enabled performance. We are able to successfully deliver this through multiple products and services such as employee surveysonline training, performance assessments, and performance coaching. The goal at Cornerstone Learning is to assist our clients in enabling success by developing a dynamic and customized pathway to deliver role model organizational and personal performance.