Ready, Fire, Aim

Gerwig 2016-05-16

Do you like the outdoors? Perhaps you’re a fly-fisherman. Or a backpacker. Or a hunter. Or a tailgater. Or a backyard BBQ king. Me? I’m a bit of all those. I love the outdoors. Scuba-diving. Fly-fishing. Wild-life photography. Mountain-biking. Surfing. Tennis. Camping. Tailgating. Hiking. I love any excuse to get outside. It’s all good to me. Heat. Cold. Rain. Snow. Wind. Sleet. I love being outside. Do you?

During my lifetime, I’ve been fortunate to enjoy many outdoor adventures on several continents. And yet I don’t have a Yeti cooler. How is this possible? In the US, Yeti is an uber-cool company that sells high-end coolers. They are the Maserati or Lamborghini of the cooler world. And they’re “cool.” Like me, if you love the outdoors but don’t want to spend several hundred dollars on a cooler, you can invest in a Yeti mug, tumbler, or bottle opener for a fraction of the cost.

This last Christmas, I was fortunate enough to receive a Yeti tumbler than keeps hot things hot and cold things cold. I use it every day. Why? Because it’s cool? Or because it works. Honestly, the answer is “both.” There is a cool factor to drinking coffee or sparkling water out of a Yeti tumbler. But it also works. I make my coffee each morning in a Chemex, drinking one cup out of a mug I picked up in Japan. The remainder goes in my Yeti. And it stays warm enough to drink for a couple hours. I also use it to keep water cold when I’m working outside in the yard. It’s cool and functional. How awesome is that?!

So when I was looking for a bottle opener to attach to the BBQ table I built last Fall, I looked no further than Yeti. Okay, the truth is that I happened to stumble across the Yeti bottle opener while looking for a weather-proof opener to attach to my table. But after doing some additional research, I realize the Yeti bottle opener fit the bill, at least for me. It could stand up to the Connecticut weather (cold in the winter, hot in the summer, rainy in the spring and perfect in the fall) without breaking the bank. It was, essentially, the same price as similar bottle openers.

Research completed, I was ready to make my purchase. But no local shops carried the Yeti opener. What to do? I went to the “everything store” – Amazon. They carried it but it wasn’t in stock and wasn’t available for Prime shipping. Ugh! I did have other options. Several local and Big Box retailers had openers that would work (sorta). They claimed to be weather-proof. And they were comparably priced to the Yeti. But they didn’t have the “cool” factor the Yeti had.

Obviously, in the grand scheme of things (including my life), a bottle opener for my BBQ table is no big deal. But I’m using it to make a point. And the point is, it’s (often) worth waiting. I chose to wait. I could have purchased an opener I didn’t really want and get it 3 days sooner. Or I could wait and get the opener I wanted – the Yeti bottle opener. I waited.

And I’m glad I did. I like the way it looks. And it will satisfy my “Yeti” longing until I choose to buy a Yeti cooler (or someone gives one to me). It was easy to install, looks good on my table and is functional – just in time for summer dogs, burgers, chicken, ribs, brisket, tenderloin, lobster, steak, and shrimp.

What about you? Are you willing to wait? Great leaders demonstrate patience. They go through the “Ready, Aim, Fire” process versus the “Ready, Fire, Aim” process. Great leaders know that the end is worth the wait, the consequence worth the effort. Great leaders know that in the long-run, short-cuts aren’t worth it. They know that, while it’s tempting to fire quickly, it’s more effective to aim first.

What’s your situation? Are you anxious to fire? Are you willing to wait until you aim? If I had caved in to my impatience, I would have lived with a bottle opener that wasn’t my first choice for many years. By waiting a few extra days, I got what I wanted – for the long run.

Don’t settle. Don’t give in to temptation. Demonstrate patience. Wait. You’ll be glad you did. Great leaders know that it’s much more effective to aim before firing. Don’t get inpatient and fire as soon as you’re ready. Aim first. Be patient. Wait. Think about the long-term consequences.

What are you waiting upon? Are you getting anxious? Can you wait? Are you tempted to fire as soon as you’re ready, before you’ve aimed?

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

Dr. is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]


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One thought on “Ready, Fire, Aim

  1. When do I get some of those summer dogs, burgers, chicken, ribs, brisket, tenderloin, lobster, steak, and shrimp?
    Civilization based on waiting – not acting entirely on the desire of the moment. Is 40:31.
    Thanks again for sharing.

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