Fire Ready Aim Syndrome

Last week I attended a webinar on Mastering Change conducted by Linkage, Inc.  Normally when I attend such things I find they are rather mundane and rarely apply to what I’m doing.  However, this one hit a nerve for me and I thought it was worth sharing some of the lessons and tips.  The following comes from their research as well as the work of such noted authors and researchers as John Kotter, Peter Block, and Albert Humphrey (the grandfather of SWOT Analysis).

Given the situation facing so many companies and organizations right now, the temptation is high to jump on any change (new product, process, person, etc.).  With the tough times we’re experiencing, everyone is searching for solutions and answers. 

I’m working with two excellent companies right now and this struggle is real and a sense of urgency is prevalent.  So I think it’s worth pondering what to consider before making a hasty decision.  (And to avoid what I like to call the “Fire-Ready-Aim Syndrome”.)

Before embarking on a wide-scale change effort, consider the following questions:

  1. Is the leadership team aligned?

  2. Have you objectively and thoroughly identified the problem?

  3. Have you outlined potential questions with appropriate answers?

Avoid the following traps when undergoing such a change:

  • Not building a strong business case.  Ensure you have researched all aspects of the change including effects on business operations, organization, people, customers, and your community.  Conduct a thorough SWOT analysis.

  • Jumping to action.  It’s easy to look for “the” solution rather than conducting a thorough analysis of your needs and wants as well as what you need to protect.  Beware of jumping on the bandwagon (doing what everyone is doing). Beware of the shiny penny.

  • Failure to get commitment from key stakeholders.  Spend the time up-front enlisting the support of the leadership team, owners, and other key individuals who will be critical to your success.  Listen openly to what they say and resist the desires of one for the mandate of most.

    Ironically, I found myself guilty of all three traps last week!  Truth be told, I am prone to Fire-Ready-Aim Syndrome.

    A client questioned the progress of a project—they wanted to slow it down.  At first, this frustrated me but over the course of the week I’ve come to see the wisdom of their actions, particularly as I was reviewing my notes from the webinar.  So for all of us, remember that such change takes time and patience—and an attention to the process.


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