We hear all the same well-worn business phrases all the time. We’ve become soooo accustomed to hearing them that we don’t really hear them. Take the phrase, “At the end of the day.” Unless you’re speaking about the company happy hour that starts at 6 p.m. stay away from using “at the end of the day.” The phrase started out meaning “ultimately,” or “When everything else has been taken into consideration.” Now the phrase  means, “I am about to yammer on.”

We have all been “thinking outside the box” until we get “thrown under the bus.” So let’s “open the kimono” and “take this discussion to the next level.” The phrase I want to explore is “It’s not rocket science.” 

Sometimes organizational issues that we incur do require rocket science. Well, not exactly, but sometimes we need to act like we think rocket scientists do. Put another way, although rockets or space exploration may not be involved, some organizational issues require the same rigor of thought and thorough analysis as a scientist may apply. Think of complex matrixed organizations that are trying to determine clear accountability. Think of software companies that are battling cyber security threats. Think of social media companies that are sorting out privacy and political issues. Think of a stodgy company that needs forward looking research in order to grow. I would compare some of these problems to rocket science.

When the “low hanging fruit” went away, rocket science began to be required.  Although it can be a relative term, applying rigor and creative thinking to problems, like rocket scientists do, will make your organization more effective and efficient. I highly recommend it.

When you hear the phrase, “It’s not rocket science”, maybe if you approach the problem with the zeal of a rocket science, it would stay solved.

Needless to say, I am not a rocket scientist and I am in awe of those who are. Maybe if I had passed college Physics I could have been one.  But I didn’t, “it is what it is.”


Richard is the author of the new book The Thing About Work: Showing Up and Other Important Matters [A Worker’s Manual]. You can follow his writing on TwitterFacebook, or at his website at

Richard is a noted San Francisco based business leader, workplace pundit, bestselling author and venture capitalist.

About Richard Moran

Richard MoranRichard A. Moran is Chief Executive Officer of Frost & Sullivan, working in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities. He is a noted San Francisco based business leader, workplace pundit, best-selling author, and venture capitalist. He is best known for his series of humorous business books beginning with best-selling, Never Confuse a Memo with Reality that started the genre of “Business Bullet Books.”​

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