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The secret to rapid growth

Forget Ready Aim Fire...

CrosshairsLooking back at 2015, probably my biggest learning would be this: forget ready, aim, fire. The phrase to adopt is: fire, aim, ready.

In today’s business environment he who hesitates is lost. In the last twelve months, the most common challenge I’ve seen has been in getting real pace and acceleration behind initiatives and new ideas.

In fact, the most noticeable difference between my most successful clients and those who’ve really struggled has been the “Branson” factor: an attitude of “Screw It, Just Do It”.

One client I met had already spent months developing branding and sales materials around a new concept and was really struggling to get it into a shape they were happy with. So instead, we spent time with the sales team, practicing questions to help them understand how the customers thought and what they were really after. When we reconvened two weeks later, not only were the answers much clearer, we found the team didn’t actually need new materials – the questions themselves were driving the sales faster than anyone expected.

On the flip-side, several times during the year I saw business leaders asking their teams to explore more options, when the most practical solution was already staring them in the face. And time and again I saw executives asking for more detail and more information, only to discover that weeks of focus groups and desktop analysis doesn’t give a fraction of the learning that a cut-down version in front of a customer gives in a matter of minutes.

As leaders we can’t let a fear of failure hold back the business. Failure is inevitable whenever you’re trying to do anything that’s truly interesting and worthwhile – it’s a natural part of the process. It’s how fast you can fail and how quickly you can react that sets the winners apart from the laggards.

Instead of trying to avoid failure, we need to use it to our advantage.

On a firing range you could spend half an hour calculating the distance and adjusting for the wind-speed. Or you can fire a shot, look where it hit, then adjust your sights. Fire, aim, ready. A miss is never a failure as long as we can see where it went wrong and adjust accordingly.

Bottom Line: We can never accurately predict the future. As leaders, we increasingly need to be bold, trust our judgement, and back our teams to fire away, adjusting their sights as they go.

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