Dan Rockwell, who posts up a lot of very interesting blogs on leadership, posted another one — Jim Collins on Bullets before Cannonballs
He starts it off:
Weak leaders rely on cannonballs. Wise leaders shoot bullets first. During difficult times weak leaders look for big solutions, giant leaps, and dramatic success. Wise leaders take small steps before making giant leaps.
Shoot bullets: Bullets are miniature cannonballs. They’re inexpensive, easy to make, and easy to shoot. Setup is quick. Outcomes are obvious. Test your assumptions by shooting bullets. Difficult times motivate desperate leaders to act on untested assumptions. Wise leaders test ideas and assumptions in low risks, low cost ways. (my re-paragraphing).
My reaction to it was not really great, even though I like the key learning points and I like Jim Collins’ writings and thinking.
Guess the “bullets” thing is more a case of bad timing as much as anything else, given what is happening in the world these days like Aurora and Wisconsin. I think that there are some better ways of presenting the concept metaphorically and I will share why in just a second.
Maybe we should be talking about pebbles and rocks… Or snowflakes and avalanches or raindrops and flash floods or something… Gee, maybe even “sports” but those often get old really quickly.
Guns, bullets, cannon balls? Personally, I’m more comfortable using images of caterpillars changing into butterflies, the idea of Square Wheels turning into Round Wheels, Geese flying in a “V” and on and on.
Oh, when you see a flock of geese or pelicans flying, often one side of the “V” is longer than the other side. Do you know why that is?
There are more geese on that side… We tend to make things so complicated when they are often just so simple!
Two caterpillars and sitting on a wagon and a beautiful butterfly floats by.
The one caterpillar says to the other: “You’ll never get me up in one of those things…”
Lots of managers seem to think that way, too, maybe. And as Dilbert said, “Change is good. You go first.”
Have FUN out there!
Scott Simmerman Ph.D. CPF, CPT is still managing partner of PMC, but sort of retired…
Scott is developer of the Square Wheels® images and the board game version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine
Scott has presented his concepts in 47 countries and collaborates with consultants and trainers worldwide.
You can reach him at email@example.com and you can see his profile at LinkedIn
Also published on Medium.