The Pandemic has brought with it an immense tide of change. Changes are being experienced, seen and made on both the personal & professional fronts. For businesses and organizations scrambling to cope with change, it is essential to action their plans with clarity, precision and focus. Business and organizational leaders have an enormous responsibility – to ensure business continuity. How they respond now, will determine the future of the business. In this scenario, it is essential to seek a competitive advantage – and the true competitive advantage isn’t gained by a thing possessed, but by a mindset developed over time. Amongst the most focussed mindsets is that of the Sniper who have all the survival insights for emerging leaders. Let’s look at what leaders can learn from Snipers:
Snipers are totally Mission-Driven:
Total focus on the mission, to the exclusion of everything else – that is how Snipers operate. Discomfort, unsurmountable odds – everything is forgotten: the mission comes first. Thanks to their intense and immersive training, they have enormous mental strength. It is truly said that true strength doesn’t come from what you can do – it comes from doing what you previously thought you couldn’t do. That type of strength doesn’t come from the body; it comes from the mind. Hence, whether snipers or leaders – if they are mission-driven, they will outdo the competitors who are not. It is their focussed mission-driven mindset that gives them the energy to slog and persevere, despite the odds. As the saying goes, Snipers don’t quit when they are tired, they quit when they are done.
Snipers rely on expertise, not just equipment:
It’s easy to think that Snipers focus on the target, aim and fire – because they have a technologically superb rifle, they “get” the target. Nothing could be further from the actual truth. The rifle, actually, is nothing more than an extension of the Sniper’s mind. It’s the Sniper’s expertise that comes into play, his training, his expertise in calculating the time & distance, angles, wind-drift, etc…Similarly for leaders, it’s easy to think that certifications, degrees or technology can be sources of competitive advantage – they are not. These things provide knowledge but that is not power – applying knowledge is power. The true competitive advantage is your mind and how you use it to apply all your experience, education and the resources you have at hand, towards the desired outcome. As Snipers say…it’s not the gun, but the man behind the gun.
Snipers believe in economy and efficiency:
By their very training, Snipers focus on maximum outcome with focus – they follow the “one shot, one kill” principle as far as possible. Research on the Vietnam war showed that conventional soldiers used around 50,000 rounds for 1 enemy kill while snipers spent 1.3 per kill. Similarly, for leaders, if you cast too wide a net or try to get too many things done, chances are you will not succeed. Instead, opt for the efficiency of the “one shot, one kill” mindset – this will give you a laser focussed, outcome oriented approach and increase your chances of getting the desired outcome. Let’s not forget the Sniper’s credo: “One shot, One kill” – it’s not “spray and ray”.
Snipers are driven by Purpose:
There are many examples of Snipers having a definitive impact on global events. Dictators have been vanquished, innocent lives saved in hostage situations and cartels have been decimated. Similarly, leaders who are driven by purpose will have an incredible competitive advantage over those that are motivated by other factors. Having a purpose gives it’s own energy and passion – and harnessing this gives leaders the mindset to strive for the objective. This mindset can be nurtured and developed over time and helps leaders stay focussed on achieving the goal. As Snipers say, “You can make history with the right target in your sights”.
Swapan Dholakia is a senior Communications and Trade Advocacy professional. His current interest areas are trade diplomacy and leveraging Communications to impact society & audiences at large.