plane cockpit and city of night

This is from a response from a newsletter reader to our blog last week, How to Assess Your Leadership Fires, where we broke down the acronym F.I.R.E.S. to help you start planning for 2021.

F.I.R.E.S. stands for:

F. Fix: What is broken and needs to be repaired?
I. Improve: What needs to be upgraded, refined, or simplified
R. Replace: What is obsolete and needs updating?
E. Eliminate: What is not needed and should be stopped?
S. Start: What is needed but never got going or resumed?

Here’s the response:

I really like the FIRES acronym, but I think it misses one essential requirement.

In planning, we used to talk about “Start, stop, and continue.” Of the three, we found that “continue” was the most important.

Organizations often are doing things right, and they simply let them slide due to a change in focus.

It’s super-important to understand what you can do and are doing well, then make sure to keep on doing it. Everyone says you need to know your weaknesses. It’s actually FAR more important to know your strengths. Then you can keep on leveraging them.

It’s not only “core competencies.” It’s also “core advantages.” Something has made you competitively successful. You absolutely have to continue doing whatever it is.

Too many times organizations take their advantages and skills for granted, and then lose them in the quest for “continuous improvement.” It’s fine to improve something. But when that improvement is accompanied by unwittingly slacking off on something else important, then there is no net gain, or even a net loss. People can only focus on a few things at a time.

It’s like what you teach new pilots to do first in an emergency … “Fly the airplane.”

Great point. Fly the airplane, then assess your F.I.R.E.S.

This is from a response from a newsletter reader to our blog last week, How to Assess Your Leadership Fires, where we broke down the acronym F.I.R.E.S. to help you start planning for 2021.

F.I.R.E.S. stands for:

F. Fix: What is broken and needs to be repaired?
I. Improve: What needs to be upgraded, refined, or simplified
R. Replace: What is obsolete and needs updating?
E. Eliminate: What is not needed and should be stopped?
S. Start: What is needed but never got going or resumed?

Here’s the response:

I really like the FIRES acronym, but I think it misses one essential requirement.

In planning, we used to talk about “Start, stop, and continue.” Of the three, we found that “continue” was the most important.

Organizations often are doing things right, and they simply let them slide due to a change in focus.

It’s super-important to understand what you can do and are doing well, then make sure to keep on doing it. Everyone says you need to know your weaknesses. It’s actually FAR more important to know your strengths. Then you can keep on leveraging them.

It’s not only “core competencies.” It’s also “core advantages.” Something has made you competitively successful. You absolutely have to continue doing whatever it is.

Too many times organizations take their advantages and skills for granted, and then lose them in the quest for “continuous improvement.” It’s fine to improve something. But when that improvement is accompanied by unwittingly slacking off on something else important, then there is no net gain, or even a net loss. People can only focus on a few things at a time.

It’s like what you teach new pilots to do first in an emergency … “Fly the airplane.”

Great point. Fly the airplane, then assess your F.I.R.E.S.

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