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Pluto: the final unexplored (maybe) planet. These are the voyages of the spacecraft New Horizons. Its 10-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man-made machine has gone before.


According to NASA, “the United States has been the first nation to reach every planet from Mercury to Neptune with a space probe. If New Horizons is successful, it will allow the U.S. to complete the initial reconnaissance of the solar system.” Congratulations, NASA! They have much to teach us.

The New Horizons mission to Pluto and its five moons took 9 1/2 years to reach the target. New Horizons launched on Jan. 19, 2006, then swung past Jupiter in February 2007 headed to flyby Pluto July 2015.

And 59 minutes ago, NASA posted a timelapse video of the Pluto images captured over the last few days (July 2015 as predicted) to Instagram.

13 minutes ago, NASA posted a photo of the New Horizons team celebrating a safe flyby of Pluto. To Twitter.

Twitter was founded March 21, 2006 and launched July 13, 2006.

Instagram was founded in 2009 and launched October 6, 2010.

Twitter and Instagram did not exist when New Horizons launched.

Mind blown.


Think about the amount of planning it took NASA to prepare for the New Horizons mission. To prepare the vehicle and plan the route. To launch a machine at precisely the right time in 2006 and right place to ensure it would travel 9 years and 3+ billion miles to Pluto. Amazing. 

Planning is good. Planning is powerful. Planning is necessary for success.

What if NASA had a communication plan from January 2006 with instructions to share the news about Pluto in a full page print ad in Newsweek magazine? Course correction needed: Newsweek announced a move to online only (no more print anything) by the end of 2012.

NASA no doubt had a precise plan for communicating the future success of New Horizons, but communication with Earth’s inhabitants is complex. People search out new ways to express themselves. Better. Faster. 

NASA will share news from this first mission to Pluto in many ways, but they chose to make social media a priority. What an incredible way to bring us into the excitement. This is an important moment for all of us, and they shared it where we get our news today — online and social media.

NASA is posting where people are already communicating instead of doggedly following a plan that could not have predicted Instagram and Twitter. (Unless they have a working time machine they’re not telling us about.) 

They adapted their plans because…

Planning for communication with people remains messy.

If only we could plan for human communication as precisely as NASA handles science, math, and other concepts my brain does not grasp. 

Human communication can’t be quantified precisely like the trajectory from Earth to Jupiter to Pluto, but decades of science and brain research continue to provide insights into human behavior and communication.

Is the trajectory of your company important? Yes.

Can you plan for the trajectory of your company without dealing with people? No.

If years of research could more accurately predict the success of a potential employee in a job, wouldn’t you want to know?

Would you want to know how to get your sales team to play nice with finance? How to drive your employees to take action? How to keep them engaged?

That research exists. These tools exist.

Let’s use these tools to build teams that help you flyby every business goal.

Call me to find out more.  



I use tools from a company called TTI Success Insights (TTI SI). Over three decades, TTI SI has researched and applied social and brain science, creating assessment solutions consultants in 90 countries and 40 languages used to hire, develop and retain the best talent in the world. TTI SI assessments have been used in over 100,000 companies, including Fortune 1000. TTI SI tools are EEOC and OFCCP compliant, continuously tested and refined to ensure the highest standards of ethics and reliability.