Hitting Your Target

“Ready… aim….” What comes next? No doubt, you said “Fire!” That’s what we were taught for years. In every war movie you ever saw, the commander always said, “Ready, aim, fire.” Right? Of course that should be the order of things. Of course you would aim before you fired. Otherwise, you’d be hard pressed to hit your target, or worse, you’d be shooting from the hip. But that no longer makes the most sense.

It’s time to consider this approach: Ready, fire, aim. Yes. Ready, FIRE, aim. At the speed with which things move in business and manufacturing today, if you aren’t quick enough on the trigger, you target is probably long gone before you can sight your scope. Now this certainly doesn’t mean that you should fire in any direction and simply hope for the best. If your target is in front of you and you fire straight into the air, you’ll never hit it. However, if your target is in front of you and you fire in that direction, you improve your odds.

Now you may be thinking, “But if I don’t aim, I’ll never hit the bull’s eye.” True. But in the real world, the speed with which your target moves limits your chances of hitting the bull’s eye anyway, and the time you spend aiming turns into wasted time. The bullet that you precisely aimed is going to hit thin air because your target will be long gone. Better to hit an outer edge of the target with a quick shot, even a shot from the hip, rather than to hit a bull’s eye of thin air.

Here’s the real world scenario for that metaphor: You see a problem on your shop floor, so you convene a team to figure out the solution. That’s the “ready” part. You evaluate; you conduct meetings; you build a game plan; you have a few more meetings to discuss the solution. That’s the “aim” part, and the “aim” part typically takes weeks. Finally, you execute your plan… aka “fire.” However, by now, the original problem either no longer exists or has morphed into something different for which your solution doesn’t work. You spent weeks aiming only to find your target changed. Wasted time.

On the other hand, if you see a problem and brainstorm a quick solution then try it, you’re adopting “ready, fire, aim” thinking. Your solution may or may not work, but your target has not had time to change or move. Now you can assess your solution and critique what was successful about it or what needs to be tweaked. Did you hit the edge of the target? What can you change to get closer next time? You have a bit more time to evaluate… and more time to take aim for your next shot. It’s important to note that we didn’t eliminate “aiming”; we simply moved its occurrence.

Another way to think about this approach is “plan, do, review.” Every one of these steps has to be carried out and repeated in order to achieve success. We’re not simply pointing and shooting. We’re pointing, shooting and then assessing the shot. We’re not just planning and doing. We plan, do, REVIEW.


At MPower, we’ve built our success on the last step, and data collection is an integral part of the review process. You will rarely hit your target if you’re always shooting from the hip, but by continually reviewing, you will improve your skills as a quick shot marksman. Contact us to improve your data collection and review process,

so you can take advantage of the ready, fire, aim approach.