Avoid Collaboration in 3 Easy Steps: Ready, Fire, Aim!

Ready, Fire, Aim.
If you don’t aim first, you will most likely miss. If you quickly pick up a bow, immediately pull back and release the arrow, chances are good the arrow will fly exactly where you don’t want it to go.


Ready, Aim, Fire.
Instead, take a deep breath, carefully focus on the middle of the target. Take your time. Slowly pull back the bow, maybe take another deep breath, concentrate on what you want to happen next, and release. You have mentally and physically prepared, and you have a much better chance of success now that you have taken the necessary time and care.

Though shooting an arrow from a bow is easy enough to do, it is very difficult to do well. The same is true when we have information to share.

Too often, we have a document that needs to be shared with a small group, or an entire team, and we share it in a way that is comfortable for us, familiar, and quick and easy so we can move on to the next thing. Today, in late 2017, sharing a document quickly and easily usually involves sending it out attached to an email.

Congratulations, you have just fired before you aimed.

When sending an document out over email for collaboration, users will be immediately challenged by issues of version tracking and control. Copies will be sent back and forth between different people, and though time was saved at the onset, a significant amount of time will now have to be invested in controlling the flow of information between many users.

When sending a document over email out that people will only need to refer to, chances are good they will never take the time to download the file to their hard drive. Any comment they would like to make on the file will now need to be done as an email that everyone will need to read through. Referring back to the file will require finding the email it was originally attached to, and sharing the file with others mean that many more people will receive many more emails.

We don’t want more emails.

However, if we take the time, care and patience to aim before we fire, we can share information in a way that will make information easy to find and use now, and in the future.

Store the information in a place that is easily accessible. This can be a shared folder in a format like DropBox or OneDrive, or in a collaborative space like Yammer, Workplace or even Facebook. If files are being shared, carefully and thoughtfully name those files. When someone looks at the names of the files you are sharing with them, you want the know, at a glance, exactly what those files are.


Take care to set permissions correctly. You may want people to only view the information, or you may want people to be collaborate in real time. Take time to review document, directory and platform permissions so people will be able to do exactly the work you want them to do.

Plan how you want to make people aware of the information. Will an email be sent with a link? Will team members be tagged in a post that references the file? What will the messaging say so your team members are aware of the information, and are aware of what they can, and are expected to do?

It all comes down to a matter of how you want people spending their time. Ready, Fire, Aim results in people looking for versions, comments and file locations. Ready, Aim, Fire means people will be able to get right to work, and will spend their time in deep, transparent collaboration with the rest of their team.

Ready, Aim, Fire may take a little more time, but it is time well spent, and will result in a stronger organization producing better work in a shorter period of time.

So fire away!

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