Posted by Bill Handy, Senior Vice President of Account Services
I use the term “Ready, Fire, Aim” oftentimes when working with project teams. It means we’ve gotten out of the natural order of strategic planning. Sometimes teams jump from goals to tactics without conducting any research or thinking through objectives and strategy, etc. This also includes knowing and following instruction.
For some my comment seems overbearing??? I have my reasons though. A strategic effort that to this day still haunts me.
When I was a student at Mason Ridge Elementary my first grade teacher, Mrs. Gold, handed out a complex assignment. It was called connect the dots but this was no normal connect the dots. Rather than the standard, “connect dot 1 to dot 2″, this had instructions which stated which alpha numeric dots to connect. To this day I am still emotionally scarred by this assignment. I don’t blame anyone, it was a learning opportunity.
She told us to read the directions and begin work. As an added bonus the first person to finish correctly got a gold star to their leader board.
I’d been down this path before and knew how connect the dots worked. Glancing around the room I had a jump on my competition.
Step one, connect dot number 17 to dot letter R
Step two, connect dot letter R to dot letter B
Step three, connect dot number 4 to dot letter A
And so it went.
I neared the finish and still couldn’t determine what the portrait was to be. Looking around the room again I noticed some had an amazing image and others, like me, had spaghetti.
Mrs. Gold told us to stop and asked which of us could tell what the graphic was and who, for lack of a better term, didn’t follow directions.
Included in the first paragraph was a mention to read the last directive of the list of connections. It simply said, “skip odd numbered directions.”
To this day I remember that sinking feeling of knowing I was going to be victorious and suddenly realizing I wasn’t even going to finish the race, simply because I hadn’t followed direction. Perhaps more important, I had let down Mrs. Gold. You see, she was my favorite teacher.
It is no different with clients and I can’t imagine letting them down because I failed to follow instructions.
To learn more about Ready, Aim, Fire! in the PR world I would suggest reading “Strategic Planning for Public Relations” (Smith) or any of the dozens of textbooks on the subject.
Bill Handy is an expert in all things strategic communications. He helps organizations achieve their objectives by leveraging new and traditional communication platforms and is an expert in strategic communications including public relations, marketing, strategic planning, digital engagement and emerging communication technology. If you’d like to learn a more about Bill please visit his bio, contact us at our Tulsa City office or connect with him on LinkedIn.