On August 23, 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) accomplished a milestone with the successful landing of the Chandrayaan-3 on the moon. This mission was not just a triumph in space exploration but also a testament to ISRO’s resilience and spirit. Here we dissect the journey, unveiling the lessons HR professionals can imbibe from this comeback mission.
Nirupama V.G., Founder & MD of Ad Astra Consultants adds “Chandrayaan-3’s triumph is a reflection of what resilience and teamwork can achieve. Its success mirrors the principles that guide us at Ad Astra Consultants: fostering innovation, learning, and an unyielding spirit. It teaches us to view challenges as stepping stones to greater heights, a lesson that is not just invaluable for the HR sector, but for every realm that seeks to redefine boundaries and achieve success.”
Journey and Purpose
The Chandrayaan-3 mission was more than just another lunar exploration; it was a beacon of determination and adept technological advancements. It stood as a testament to India’s prowess in space technology and a showcase of resilience, following the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which faced a setback in 2019 due to a hard landing.
Designed to safely land a rover in the moon’s highlands near the south pole, the mission carried the hope and expectations of an entire nation. The goal was clear: demonstrate advanced landing and roving capabilities, while conducting in-depth experiments through onboard instruments.
A noteworthy tech advancement was the laser-based guidance system incorporated into the lander. This system, boasting an array of sensors and actuators, played a role in achieving a precise and soft landing on the lunar surface, starting a new era in exploration.
The Backbone of the Mission: Resilient Leaders and Teams
The true spirit of the mission lay in the individuals and teams who worked behind the scenes, displaying resilience and ingenuity. The project director, P Veeramuthuvel, showcased exemplary leadership, steering the mission to success after analysing and rectifying the causes of the previous mission’s failure.
S Unnikrishnan Nair, the Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), was the force behind the Launch Vehicle Mark-III development and testing, overcoming hurdles including the delays brought about by the pandemic. Together with M Sankaran, the Director of U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), they led teams that breathed life into Chandrayaan-3, incorporating new technologies and saving time and costs by reusing components from Chandrayaan-2.
The HR Perspective: Drawing Parallels from ISRO’s Resilience
The Chandrayaan-3 mission exemplifies how resilience, innovation, and collaboration can redefine success in challenging situations. Just like ISRO, HR professionals can get lessons to cultivate a thriving and resilient workforce.
Recruitment: Merit-based recruitment, like ISRO’s, ensures the acquisition of top talent. By fostering a feedback-rich environment and seeking skilled individuals from diverse backgrounds, HR can curate a balanced and high-performing team.
Training: Continuous learning, as demonstrated by ISRO through its rigorous training regimens, is key to maintaining an updated and skilled workforce. Organisations should invest in skill-building, promoting a culture of continuous improvement.
Welfare: Just as ISRO provides a supportive environment for its employees, companies should cultivate a similar atmosphere. Benefits, mental health support, and acknowledging achievements are vital for a motivated workforce.
Innovation: Like ISRO, which constantly pushes technological boundaries, organisations should promote a culture of innovation. Encouraging employees to approach problems creatively can lead to groundbreaking solutions.
Resilience: ISRO’s comeback with Chandrayaan-3 is a lesson in perseverance. In corporate settings, fostering a mindset that sees failures as learning opportunities ensures long-term growth and sustainability.
Insights from the Experts: Resilience in Practice
Recent studies emphasise the value of resilience in the workplace. For instance, a Harvard Business Review study highlighted that resilience thrives not only as an individual trait but also through relationships and networks.
Adding to this, a comprehensive study by the ADP Research Institute provides further insights. In 2020, they conducted a global analysis exploring resilience and engagement levels across 25 countries. By surveying over 26,000 individuals, they aimed to aid leaders in fostering both personal resilience and a deeper engagement within their teams. The research offers a roadmap for leaders to nurture engagement and resilience in their teams, highlighting that understanding and support at the organisational level can enhance overall resilience and productivity in the workplace.
Such findings suggest that organisations can bolster resilience by fostering camaraderie and a sense of shared purpose.
Future Implications & Trajectories
The success of Chandrayaan-3 solidifies ISRO’s position in global space exploration, potentially leading to further international collaborations. Similarly, by adopting ISRO’s resilience-driven approach, businesses can position themselves at the forefront of their industries.
As we move towards an evolving global landscape, the principles of resilience and ingenuity are more pertinent than ever for HR professionals. By fostering a culture that values continuous learning, innovation, and bouncing back from setbacks, organisations can ensure they remain agile and robust, ready to face the challenges of tomorrow.