Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Fire, aim, ready

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I listened to a great podcast today on Dr. Paul’s Live on Purpose Radio podcast series. He interviewed Shaye Larsen, the founder of IdeaOrbit.com. They discussed a lot of cool things, but the thing that impressed me the most was Shaye’s description of and discussion about the concept of “fire, aim, ready.” We are all familiar with the phrase “ready, aim, fire,” which is the “safe” way to shoot guns or the conservative way to approach new things.

Shaye turns that idea on its head. He talks about taking a group of boys out shooting clay pigeons. Instead of telling them to take their time getting ready, take careful aim, then shoot, he let them shoot the gun several times so they could get used to how it feels. After they had the feel down, then he showed them how to aim. After they were accustomed to shooting and aiming, then they were ready to compete.

He compared this experience to taking on a new task, starting a new business, or some big, new thing we want to start doing. We need to be ready and willing to jump in or tackle the new opportunity immediately. We need to get the feel for “shooting” or trying new things. When that happens we will better judge new opportunities and will find new ways to become successful. We better trust our own intuition.

Once you’ve been through it (“it” meaning taking on new things) a few times, you get comfortable with the process and then you can fire because your aim is accurate because you are ready. I realize this is a different way of looking at things, but when you get comfortable you get confident, and then you progress so much faster. A statement that helps me understand this concept better is a quote attributed to Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

The faster we find things that don’t work, the faster we will find those that will.

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