As Napoleon’s Imperial Guard were wont to state:
‘Some shot goes right to the prospective each time some shot will explode within the barrel although some shot will ricochet within the wrong direction. Some powder will flash within the pan some powder will flare uncontrollably although some powder is going to be too effective within the usual measure. Some fuses burn too quickly, others not fast enough some fuses will require forever to light while other fuses self ignite.’
Look again in the first sentence within the ‘old soldier’ adage every time you browse the word ‘shot’ change it with the someone you’re going to trust with leadership of the critical and most likely very costly corporate transformation / business improvement project.
Can she or he hit the prospective each time? Will they explode prematurely? Will they jump towards the wrong conclusion and disappear within the wrong direction? Unless of course you’re very sure from the solutions, you might like to re-think your leadership choice.
Now reread the 2nd sentence from the ‘old soldier’ adage again in similar fashion, switch the word powder with either the specific same person or any other person when the first unsuccessful the ‘shot’ test.
Perform the statements ring true of the individual? Will they promise action but fizzle out, will they remove in lots of directions at the same time or will they overreact? Getting considered the individual in the outlook during these characteristics, is that this the best person for that project?
Finally, reread the adage again – switch the word fuses within the third sentence with the whomever managed to get with the first couple of ‘tests’ or another person you may would now like to task with leading the large project.
Would the individual break out too early, would she or he take too lengthy to create decisions, have they got difficulty getting up to date or will they self destruct?
Finding an individual who brings the best mixture of shot, powder and fuses so that the work won’t inflate real good is tough enough but, regrettably, that’s only the beginning.
This metaphor of shot, powder and fuses isn’t just relevant for leadership selection. From the wider perspective it’s a metaphor that speaks that corporate transformation / business improvement projects of size/import are an amalgam of conflicting egos, political infighting, silo budgetary control, not-in-my-backyard objection, optic based making decisions, special interest influences, exterior vendor and supplier agendas, requirements and individual fears – a battlefield! And each individual who has, is or will engage in the fight brings their very own shot, powder and fuses.
Across every corporate transformation battlefield shot, powder and fuses of different strength, design and quality are available everywhere. Peers, supervisors, subordinates, constituents, exterior parties and key stakeholders all possess ammunition frequently carefully hoarded and hidden – prepared to fire, explode, erupt, disrupt, dilute and destroy worthy, valuable projects in a moments notice.
Too many leaders of critical enhancements behave like Haig of World war one infamy, they lead in the rear, they issue orders yet take time to stay not even close to the experience, they keep tossing away sources and cash attempting to conquer impossible obstacles rather of searching for the way to outflank the opposition, they blame others to fail.
It’s one factor to pick an innovator by having an impressive arsenal of shot, powder and fuses to guide an essential initiative it’s another factor entirely in the event that person’s concept of leadership doesn’t include walking out in to the challenges of no-man’s land and braving the shot which comes of all the direction including what nowadays known as ‘friendly fire’!