The title is an expression we’ve proabably all heard from time to time –  Ready, Aim, Fire!

I’ve heard organizations who have switched the order to emphasize action – Ready, Fire, Aim.  They must have felt that something within their culture was too slow to move or decide.  I’ve worked with clients and inside organizations that have been like that.  It is painful.

What about today?  Does our current market situation emphasize a new order?  Interesting question.  Please reply if you have a interesting perspective to share.  All are welcome.

New Perspective

It’s interesting to come back to this post after beginning it a week ago.  I met with a group of executive learning leaders in Milwaukee yesterday to discuss approaches to the integration of strategy and culture and I was exposed to a newer variation that I hadn’t heard before:  Ready, Fire, Steer!  I love it.  It fits beautifully given the speed of business, and yet emphasizes the reality that we have to continually monitor and improve the strategic work that is part and parcel of “working on the business.”

I facilitated a group of 15 organizational leaders form the capital region late last week, where we focused our energy on the realities of the market and how organizations are responding to their current situations.  Companies represented best-in-class organizations from the hospitality, technology, financial, manufacturing, insurance, governmental and health care sectors.

Observations & Trends

  • The swirl of the economy and market conditions is having both a positive and negative impact on people within the organization.
  • Several leaders talked about the challenge of dealing with the paradox:  making difficult decisions while embracing the opportunity to change and better position the organization.
  • Many area organizations have had to adjust the size and makeup of their workforces – layoffs.
  • Organizations are making key decisions given limited resources and the depth of economic crisis:  stop some, delay others, refocus a few, and emphasize the critical few.

Proactive Best Practices

So, if we are all caught in some level of swirl, how are these progressive organizations facing the challenge and taking action that conquers the short term issues while building long-term positioning?

  • Ramping up communication with all employees on a regular and transparent basis – with the intent of providing relevant information, and separating fact from fiction.
  • Reframing the expectations for non-executives – get out of the victim role; we need all hands on deck.
  • Helping create line-of-sight for what is really important for today and the future of the business.
  • Finding ways to draw paralells between tough experiences the business has weathered before and what it is facing today; as well as capturing & sharing the lessons learned from reoccurring experiences today.
  • Putting different leaders together to brainstorm how they can help each other out with current dilemma’s – emphasizing collaborative work and possibly even structure new teams who will work across the organizations.

No doubt about it.  This is a tough time for businesses, their executives and the people within them.  If we continue to operate and work harder and faster given our previous experiences, we’ll fail faster.  Are you prepared to step out of the box and think differently?