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The Fifth Step in the Military Decision Making Process

NOV 26, 2012 5:00pm ET

As I write this article, I have just returned from a three-day conference and my mind is reeling with dozens of action items I want to implement—now! There were so many good ideas I would love to add into my business, it’s hard to know where to start.
It would be difficult, if not impossible to implement every one of those ideas, even though they are all good. I have to filter through the dozens of ideas, comparing them to each other, and ultimately choose what I think will be the best fit for my business model.
The fifth step in the Military Decision Making Process used by the United States Army is the “Course of Action Comparison.” This is a crucial step in the decision making process where you compare the action plans you could potentially execute to achieve success in your business, examine the potential choices, and make a final decision as to which ones you intend to implement in your business.
To compare the action items which you plan to implement means, in part, that you will “examine in order to observe resemblances or differences.” What are you currently doing that is working? What are you currently doing that is not working? What could you do differently which would give you different results? Is your business mediocre or average? What action could you take which would move your business to greatness?
In Jim Collins’ book, “Good to Great,” he writes, “Good to great lies in the discipline to do whatever it takes to become the best within carefully selected arenas and then to seek continual improvement from there.”
Whatever it takes. When you want to be the best in your field, you must put all action items you might consider including in your business plan side by side, examine the potential risk or likelihood of success on each one, and then make your choices.
When we lay all our plans on the table and begin to choose what to implement, we must be careful we don’t just go for “easy.” It takes energy, focus and determination to not only choose the right actions for our business, but also to delete actions from our lifestyle. This is where we will go from good to great.
Once again, quoting Collins from his legendary book: “Those who strive to turn good into great find the process no more painful or exhausting than those who settle for just letting things wallow along in mind-numbing mediocrity. Yes, turning good into great takes energy, but the building of momentum adds more energy back into the pool than it takes out. Conversely, perpetuating mediocrity is an inherently depressing process and drains much more energy out of the pool than it puts back in.”
Compare your potential choices and make the decision today to go from good to great.