Ready. Aim. Fire. Is this the best planning approach?
To be honest, I am not a fan of planning. Well, I wasn’t before. I used to do things on a whim. But when I entered the corporate world, that was when I realized that the results of my reckless decisions can affect the individuals around me, as well as the company that employs me. I stumbled upon the expression Ready. Aim. Fire, and I thought to myself, is there just a single best approach in planning?
Ready. Aim. Fire.
This sequence originated with the drills for musket-armed infantry in the 18th century, and the basic sequence makes perfect sense – that is, we should ready before we aim and aim before we fire. 
If you only have one shot to execute your plan, you might want to plan your action carefully first.
“Ready, fire, aim. Do it! Make it happen! Action counts. No one ever sat their way to success.”
— Tom Peters
Ready. Aim. Aim. Aim.
I get it, you don’t want to mess up. You plan your strategy carefully. You spend days, weeks, months, and even years! And what comes next? A missed opportunity. Part of a good planning is knowing when you will execute your plan. Too much planning is just as bad no plan at all. Unless your plan is flexible and can be adjusted to reach a different goal, then it is not useful at all.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
— Dale Carnegie
Ready. Fire. Fire. Fire.
In contrast to the first one, this approach is more action-packed but lacks planning. Surprisingly, this approach might work as well, even without planning, if you have a clearly defined goal. Although there are chances that you will reach your goal, risks of losing and wasting resources are also present.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Ready. Fire. Aim. Fire.
You have your goal, you take action, you plan based on the results of your first action, then you execute once again. This approach can give you a high probability of meeting your target accurately, but it takes more time and more resources. This is a trial-and-error. One must be able to recognize the errors, and utilize the results effectively on planning the next action.
“Learn to fail with pride – and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error – by mastering the error part.”
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Although, there are already classic and proven planning strategies, one must still be able to bend their ways and adjust to what the situation calls. There is no one-size-fits-all in planning. After all, we are in a different industries with unique goals and ways. We work on different timelines and limitations. The approach that works for the might not deliver the same results for you.
What approach do you use in planning? Have you been in a situation were you needed to change your approach halfway through planning?
Let us hear your stories and ideas!
This article is originally posted on LinkedIn.