Ready, fire, aim

Last year I wrote a post titled Have a bias toward action, in which I suggested: “We’ve all heard the adage—ready, aim, fire—which sounds like a logical sequence of events, but sometimes we get transfixed on the aim element. Some organizations (and individuals) get bogged down by over-analyzing and over-thinking details and options. Paralysis by analysis sets in; nothing gets done. Perhaps we should consider: ready, fire, aim.”

A friend of mine, Dane H., who has a military background, added this to the conversation: “Here’s an example of what you talk about, taken from my days in the Army.

“Prior to firing on the range, we ‘zero’ our weapon. That is, we have to calibrate the sights for how the soldier firing that rifle shoots in order to hit the target. The first step is to fire three shots at a target from 25 meters, triangulate the holes in the paper and adjust the sights in order to achieve a tighter shot group closer to the center of the target. So, to your point, we literally ready and fire understanding that our results won’t be optimal until we course-correct.”

Sometimes, ready-fire-aim is the smart process to pursue:

    • Before you make a major career change, try it out. If you’re thinking of being a UPS driver, ride around on a truck for several days. 
    • If you’re thinking of marrying someone, travel with him or her for two weeks. Travel brings out the best and worst in people.
    • Before launching a new product or service, submit a prototype or just the idea to a focus group and recalibrate based on their response.

Seldom do we get things right the first time. Most successful products and services are the result of many iterations. We learn a lot by acting and then adjusting.

[reminder]What are your thoughts about this essay?[/reminder]

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2 Replies to “Ready, fire, aim”

  1. Dear Don,
    For what it is worth, I think the phrase – “Ready, Fire, Aim” is one of the most brilliant concepts. I used it for most of the time I taught. Not, to say I was so brilliant, but rather to say that if we think we have all of the ways to achieve a goal in our head already, live is too boring and we are just plain wrong. We sometimes develop what I call
    “paralysis by analysis” and it grinds so many things to a complete halt.
    Love this posting.
    As usual Don, you have said it again.
    Garry Bailey

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