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You may remember Philae, the space probe the size of a fridge which European Space Agency scientists managed to send on a voyage across the solar system to land on a comet. The cheers as the mission was successfully accomplished swiftly turned to groans as the probe bounced on landing, finishing up in a deep valley which cut off access to its solar panels.
Seven months later, Philae has phoned home; with the comet closer to the sun the solar panels have kicked back into life and there is hope that the ESA will be able to start to gather further meaningful data about the comet’s make-up. The reawakening wasn’t a complete surprise, the scientists had hoped that Philae would wake up as it neared the sun, but it is a vindication of the way in which the ESA planned its mission to allow for future success.
It’s a lesson which many in business would do well to learn. Take networking for example. It’s an old saying that ‘people buy from people’ but underlying the saying is the assumption that the transaction is going to be built on the back of a relationship. And this can take time. If you go into networking with the idea that you are going to instantly gather vast amounts of work you will be sadly disappointed. But if you set off to build relationships, to forge alliances, then there is a much greater chance that eventually the work will start to flow.
Planning to build relationships, to set the conditions now which will lead towards future success isn’t a pathway towards instant success but it is one which can lead to long term profitability.