Do you recognise the man in this photo? In case you don’t it’s Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world and founder of software giant Microsoft Inc. What you probably don’t know is how he used the ready, fire, aim concept in his early days to build the foundation of his business empire.
Most people fail to achieve success, not because they don’t know what needs to be done, but because they just don’t do what they should and can do. Perhaps you too have been guilty of this weakness. You have an idea that you know has a great chance of succeeding. You know you would like to implement it but for some reason you continue to think about it and you just don’t take the necessary first steps and get it going.
Ready, fire, aim means when you get an idea you quickly try it out after minimal development. When you live by this concept you don’t waste time procrastinating, you don’t suffer from paralysis by analysis. Instead you take an idea, develop it quickly to a point where you can test it or try it out on a small scale (prototyping) and then make a decision to discard it or refine it further.
When Bill Gates was approached by IBM to develop an operating system for the new IBM personal computer around 1982 he did not have an operating system but he saw an opportunity and jumped onto it. He purchased a rudimentary operating system called QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) and renamed it MSDOS. He did minimal refinement on it and licensed it to IBM. Of course Bill and his team at Microsoft then dedicated themselves to improving this operating system up to today when its successor, Microsoft Windows, is the most popular operating system in the world.
So don’t plan to plan to plan. Don’t wait for perfection because you will probably be waiting forever. Quickly try out your ideas and rapidly move from thought to result. Remember you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Ready, fire, aim.
The silence in the classroom was deathly as all the students stared at the little blind boy who had just been asked by the teacher to help the class find a pet mouse that had gone AWOL (absent without official leave). Without hesitation the blind boy pointed at a spot under some books and sure enough the mouse was found there.
“So what’s this got to do with me?”, I hear you say. If you are interested in leadership, which I know you are, then this has everything to do with you. The blind boy in question went on to become a multi-million dollar celebrity and he attributes the beginning of his self-discovery to this remote incident when his teacher asked for his help in locating a runaway mouse even though he couldn’t see unlike his classmates.
In case you still haven’t figured it out the blind boy was none other that the incredibly talented musical genius Stevie Wonder.
What Stevie’s teacher did is part of nurturing a champion. This is the height of leadership. When you identify potential in people, encourage, challenge, motivate, inspire, reinforce and celebrate their successes you turn poor performance into excellence. How many champions have you nurtured?
They say the best way for you to master any subject is to teach that subject to someone else. You want to be an exceptional leader? If yes then you need to mentor/coach/teach/build someone else to be an exceptional leader. A poor leader blames his followers but a great leader develops average followers/colleagues into outstanding leaders. What type of leader are you?
If by the age of 51 you have failed in business (twice), have had a nervous breakdown, have been defeated in 8 out of 10 major contests you entered can we conclude that you are a failure?
Well, not necessarily. You may have failed but you are not necessarily a failure unless you accept defeat and decide to throw in the towel. The only person who has never failed is the one who has never tried. Failure is the breakfast of successful people. It’s not the failure that matters – it’s what you do after you have failed.
I read that Thomas Edison tried over 10,000 different materials before he discovered the right material for the electric light bulb. Abraham Lincoln, taught us the value of perseverance (failing forward) when he became the 16th United States President after suffering major failure as outlined in my first paragraph above. Zimbabwe’s very own Strive Masiyiwa, Econet Holdings Founder, won the licence to operate his mobile phone company when most of us had written him off and it appeared all had been lost.
Failing forward is about learning from each failure and more intelligently beginning again. It’s about falling down and rising up without any loss of enthusiasm.
You see the picture of that child in the upper right hand corner. That’s Nick Vujicic when he was a baby. Nick was born in 1982 with a rare disease, tetra-amelia syndrome, a disability characterised by having no hands and no legs. Now that’s the height of failure, isn’t it? I mean with no limbs you have actually failed before you have even begun, right? Well, wrong ………… if you are Nick Vujicic that is.
As Nick’s life demonstrates ultimate failing forward is taking the most painful experience, interpreting it constructively and emerging with powerful transformation. You can find out more about Nick Vujicic from the links at the bottom of this article.
So yes you have failed because you have tried but you are certainly no failure ……. unless you give up.
Click here to view Nick Vujicic’s Video on YouTube and here to read an article about him on wikipedia,