When I was a young man, I grew up in a family of hunters. My father, grandfather and so on all hunted. Very early on, though I liked shooting, I found I just wasn’t all that angry with those beautiful animals. So my father and I would go to opening day of deer season in Pennsylvania, usually the Monday following thanksgiving weekend and we go to our spot deep into the woods….and wait.
Sure enough the deer would come, and I would miss. In reality I enjoyed the time at the cabin with my dad and grandfather, my cousin, but I just did not want to kill the deer, so I would …miss. (Sorry Dad)
As I grew older I continued to enjoy shooting and thought about becoming a sniper for the military. No surprise though ;the guy who did not want to kill deer really did not want to kill anything. If called to serve I would do what was asked, but I did not volunteer to use my marksman skills. However I was very intrigued by the training and techniques of snipers.
Snipers, through hours, years, of practice hone their skills. They also become experts at camouflage and being able to sneak up on their target unnoticed. They spend a considerable amount of time in recon and observation prior to the day they execute their one strategic shot at just the opportune time.
Once the shot (usually one is all it takes) is fired, they know the importance of “policing their rounds”. In other words, they pick up the empty shells so others do not even know they were there, they leave no trace. There goal is to approach, patiently observe, execute their objective and leave unnoticed. In so doing they accomplish their objective and return safe for future missions.
As I sit here, at a Paradise Bakery over lunch hour writing,I am amazed how many business executives need to learn how to “police their rounds…”
In the booth behind me a young entrepreneur is sharing his vision for a new web based service he is presenting to what sounds like a would be venture capitalist or angel investor. Not only has he openly shared the problem he solves, who to sell it to, he even estimates being cash positive in eight months.
To my right is a very heated discussion about “Julie” and how; “she needs to go. She undermines my leadership in meetings and I need to get rid of her…” The three associates are having a blame storming session, here , in a public place?
In the past I have listened to preliminary business plans here, IPO discussions, job interviews, and performance reviews here or at Starbucks, as well as The Good Egg.
I want to share with everyone, there is no unwritten rule of ;
“what is said at Paradise Bakery, Starbucks, or The Good Egg stays there!”
You need to Police your rounds!
If you must have a discussion about a business plan, needed funding, or a difficult employee,… do so in private….you never know who may be listening.
How about you and your company executives…
Do you discuss your business, new products, and new service solutions at lunch or at the local watering hole? Golf course over lunch?
Would you say what you shared last week if you thought your competitor was in the booth next to you? No? Well not that you shared your entire business plan you may have just created one!
Would you have been so brutally honest venting your feelings about your Julie if you thought her mom or husband was in the booth next to you? Or future employees? Future customers?
I have shared this with some of my local business network buddies and I was told…just don’t listen. Just because I learn to tune out local discussions as I write my blog, does not mean everyone has.
As a leader in your organization you owe it to your organization, shareholders, and team to learn to “police your rounds.”