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Have you ever felt that your best strategy while running as leaders is to speed up and go faster? We seem to be like greyhounds chasing rabbits. But does more speed get you the results you want quicker?
One of our favorite tools is Ready, Aim, Fire! (RAF!). As business leaders, we each have a metaphorical console in front of us with three strategic buttons to choose from.
When working with groups of all ages and many nationalities, we find that when given a problem, most leaders press Fire! first. And subsequently miss the target. When asked about this, they have big smiles on their faces. Leaders tell us they love Firing! because it is action oriented, it gives them quick results, and it’s fun, even if the results are not what they want.
Our observation working with business leaders is when they are asked what strategic button to push next, Ready, Aim, or Fire!, they hit Fire! again. And again.
When we asked business leaders what Ready and Aim look like, they answered in a vulnerable way, “We don’t know.”
Ready involves identifying the problem and the resources, including who is on your team and how you want to play. Aim is about process: strategizing roles, making a plan, sequence, rules, and time frame, etc.
RAF! is an awareness tool. We are advocating the following:

  1. Be aware of the differences between Ready, Aim, and Fire!
  2. Inherently, Fire! is high velocity and Ready and Aim are slower processes.
  3. Get out of the “Fire! autopilot” and intentionally choose the right button for the right situation.
  4. Understand that there is a natural rhythm to the sequence of Ready, then Aim, and then Fire!

We do believe that in today’s global business environment, using multiple strategic buttons is necessary to traverse the complex territory ahead.
Today, the global business environment is traveling at high velocity. Maybe that is why we choose Fire! so much. We need to slow down to shift our minds into Ready and Aim. Slowing down allows us to focus on process and relationships, both crucial for effective leadership; but they can get left behind in the blur of speed.
Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare has been around for thousands of years and appears in many cultures. It is timely now. The tortoise always beats the hare to the finish line. Why do we keep trying to emulate the hare?

  • How fast are you traveling? What button do you push first?
  • Do you use multiple buttons?
  • How do you slowdown in today’s fast paced world?
  • What might you see and understand differently if you slowed down?

~written by John Berkley, Competitive Edge and Charles Page, Cool Spring Center