Fire bullets then cannonballs

August 10th, 2014

If you just sit still & never do anything bold or new, the world will pass you by.

The above quote is from Jim Collins latest book Great by Choice & if you’ve read some of my previous articles (shame if you haven’t) you might pick up that I’m a fan of him & his books (Good to Great & Great by Choice are the two I’ve read).

So does that mean that we all need to race out & do something bold & new as quickly as we can? Well we can, but action without a plan can be expensive if we get it wrong & a fantastic plan without action probably isn’t going to get us the result we want either. So what’s the answer?

Collins says fire bullets, and then cannonballs.

The analogy says to take deliberate actions in small manageable bites. Complete the activity, review the results, re-aim if you need to & then complete the process. This allows you to work out if your strategy will work & if you need to make any adjustments rather than racing off & betting the farm all at once.

Once you’ve tested the market, strategy, business process, whatever it may be & you’re happy that you’re on target, then fire those cannon ball shots, but not before.

Firing bullets helps reduce the risk while you’re still trying to determine if you are on target or not. Better to test the market with the new product, or even concept of the new product before you go & commit to a full production schedule.

So think about your current business.

  1. Are there any outcomes that you want to achieve where firing bullets would assist you rather than rushing out all at once?
  2. Are you doing any activities right now where you’re uncertain about the outcome?
  3. If you continue with your current activity what will the effect be if it doesn’t work out as expected?
  4. If you’re not firing bullets what else are you doing to minimise risk?

If you’d like assistance in developing your business then please contact PlanA Consulting

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