Business teams often struggle to achieve marketplace action, whether it’s new products or services, changes to their customer offerings or even basic sales materials.
One limiting factor may be a sort of impossible quest for perfection. That’s why I’ve come to embrace the philosophy of seeking excellence.
I was reminded of this when reading that the US Department of Defense has a division called Rapid Fielding. Yes, there is a “Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Rapid Fielding” in the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering. It’s intriguing because while US armed forces are rightfully known for many great things, rapid weapons development and deployment are not high on the list.
“The Rapid Fielding mission is to identify, develop, demonstrate, assess & rapidly field innovative concepts and technologies that supply critical capabilities to meet time-sensitive operational needs.”
Rapid Fielding was neatly summarized by reporter Julian E. Barnes in The Wall Street Journal:
“The rapid-fielding office is in large measure trying to follow the guidance of former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who argued that too many defense-acquisition projects spent too much trying to develop a perfect weapon. Instead, Mr. Gates argued, the Pentagon should try to focus on cheaper technologies that offered “70% solutions.””
There’s a lot for business leaders to take from the 70 percent solution concept, which comes from the US Marine Corps.
“Everyone is always looking for the perfect truth, but you never have it. Even if you did have it, the other guy is up to something, so by the time you execute it your truth isn’t perfect anymore.” (Colonel Thomas Moore, quoted in Corps Business – The 30 Management Principles of the U.S. Marines by David H. Freedman). Continue reading