The photo depicts an artillery demonstration at the Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland1 where Americans from the north and south clashed on September 17, 1862, the bloodiest day in American history
A team of six horses transported the artillery and moved the pieces into their final firing positions by hand. Accompanying each artillery piece was a limber and a caisson, both carrying the necessary tools and implements to fire the weapon2. This “included the sponge-rammer, pendulum-hausse or breech sight, handspike, friction primer, and lanyard3.” A complete team of cannoneers consisted of eight men and the gunner, who moved in a precise fashion to prepare, load, fire, and repeat the process all over again.
If the sequence was off and they did not follow ready, aim, fire and instead fired, then aimed, and then made ready, something would go terribly wrong, including missing the target.
Although the principle of ready, aim, fire may be applied to a wide variety of circumstances, I am specifically addressing communication. What target are you trying to hit? What message do you hope to convey to employees, peers, family members, and others? Before you react to a situation or someone’s nasty words of accusation, do you immediately fire or do you respond appropriately?
Leadership author and coach John Maxwell said, “If you can’t find a way to communicate effectively, you won’t be able to reach your potential, you won’t succeed in the way you desire; and you’ll be forever frustrated.”4 Do you desire your organization to run effectively? Do you want your employees, family members, friends, and others to enjoy being around you and appreciate working for you?
Then do not shove the powder bag and artillery projectile down the tube, ram it home, and pull the lanyard. There will be an explosion and related consequences. Therefore, it is wise to heed the words of Proverbs 29:11, “A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.5” Let’s talk more about communication and how I can help you. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit my website at www.impactusleadership.com.
3George W. Newton, Silent Sentinels, A Reference Guide to the Artillery at Gettysburg (New York: Savas Beatie LLC, 2005), 53.
4John C. Maxwell, Everyone Communicates Few Connect (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2010), 2.
5Proverbs 29:11 NKJV