In 1970, Apollo 13 launched from Cape Canaveral on its way to the third moon landing. About 56 hours into the flight an oxygen tank exploded. The crew had no real idea what had happened, but they knew it was bad. They soon began to realize, the mission to the moon had transformed into a mission of survival. Through massive teamwork both on the spacecraft and here on the ground, and with clever ingenuity and courage, they returned safely to earth from the dark depths of space. The mission was termed a "Successful Failure". To this day this mission is probably the best remembered Apollo flight after the first Apollo 11 moon landing.
There were three crew members on Apollo 13, and I have been privileged to meet two of them. Most recently, I heard Fred Haise speak about his experience at the US Space and Rocket Center here in Huntsville. Also, several years ago I met Jim Lovell at a book signing for his book, "Lost Moon".
If you have never seen the movie, "Apollo 13" I highly recommend it. Mr. Haise did go over a few of the Hollywood alterations to the story, but mainly the movie is accurate and inspiring. Tom Hanks and Ron Howard visited the Marshall Space Flight Center and Space Camp here to get more information for the movie. Mr Hanks also sent his son through Space Camp.
Often in business or personal life, circumstances change unexpectedly. The original mission cannot be completed despite all the best laid plans. Still, experience, teamwork, flexibility and knowledge enables the fortunate and dedicated to change the plan, to adapt, innovate and succeed.
With medical and dental practices, which are businesses, things can happen. The recent economic distress has made patients cautious about committing to larger or longer term dental treatment, especially if it is seen as optional. Orthodontic practices in particular have been hurt in this recession. Innovative financial options, overhead reduction are some ways to help our patients obtain the services they need. However, you must keep the quality and customer service.
With a dedication to the patient, and good business decisions, we all can weather the storm. Adversity can bring opportunity. It can bring about needed change that otherwise would not have happened. So, when the mission abruptly changes, when the plan has changed from what you thought it would be, look on it as a opportunity. Turn adversity from failure into success.