Ready? Go! Tweak.
Author: Ronnie Nijmeh,

Let's set the scene. You're in a packed stadium. It's theOlympics and you're watching the 100-metre sprint. You're up inthe nosebleed section and you see what resembles little "ants"stretching on the field as they prepare for their 10-second maddash to the finish line. As the race is about to begin, theofficial hollers: "Ready? Set. Go!" And off they go, as fast asthe wind, with the hopes of finishing first among a handful ofequally talented competitors.

But wait, "Ready? Set. Go!"? Is this phrase always correct?Should you always be "set" before you "go?"

The answer is: not always. Let's take a step back to understandthis using an example.

Running a Business vs. Running a Race

Running a business (or running your life) is not entirely likerunning a race. In a business, you don't usually have to practicefor months for something that lasts a mere 10 seconds. Businessplans are more likely to have a longer shelf life (well, at leastlonger than 10 seconds, I'd hope!). Nor do businesses stand on aracing line with their competitors and wait for formal instructionsto begin.

On the other hand, you do have to plan and practice in order toachieve success, whether you're a business builder or a sprinter.How else are these situations similar?


Well, for one, competition is fierce. A business has other companiesin its market. A person has other people in their expertise vyingfor the same opportunities and jobs. A runner has other athletesaiming for the gold.

Next, there is a common thread in terms of goals. A business wantsto be the market leader and innovator. A person aims for the top inthe class, to become the most knowledgeable or have a reputation forexcellence. A runner's ultimate goal is the gold. In essence, allthree aim for the top spot; to be number one in their field.

Lastly, motivation, inspiration and hard work are all requirementsto succeed. I can't imagine a runner winning the race if he's neverup early in the morning practicing. Nor will a business becomenumber one in its industry if it doesn't have a clear vision or thenecessary people to succeed. And a person will not become successfuland well-respected if he only works during a full moon between thehours of 2 and 3 am. Okay, well maybe not that drastic, but you getmy drift!


The most relevant distinction between businesses and athletes is theidea of false starts. Starting before the official whistle isn'tallowed during races. In contrast, false starts are a commonpractice in the business world. No business starts at the sameplace, at the same time as their competitors. Rather, businesses areoften light years ahead in terms of new products, services, or otherinnovative business practices. Then, of course, the competition willanalyze the success and attempt to replicate it!

False Starts

Well, what if false starts were allowed during races? Would it befair? Instead, what if there was a tradeoff: the runner can start 10metres ahead of his competition but the catch is that he would onlybe allowed minimal training and planning beforehand. So, chancesare, the sprinter won't be in as great of shape as his opponents. Isit fair now?

While we're not going to get into the ethical or legal issues withfalse starts, it raises an interesting point. What if, insteadof: "Ready? Set. Go!", we had:

Ready? Go! Tweak!

What does this mean? What does it entail? And how will you bedirectly affected?

Let's understand the "Ready? Go! Tweak." concept a little more.

In almost all cases, it's better to start a race ahead of youropponents. When you're ahead, you have the breathing room to makemistakes and improve, while still remaining in the lead. But how doyou actually start ahead of the pack? It's simple:

Go before you're set.

That's the whole concept of "Ready? Go! Tweak." summed up in a fewwords. It's the idea of going live with the best point-in-timeinformation and also with the understanding of the potential risk oflaunching with reduced planning. You don't want to hang onto aproject for too long since stalling could be far too damaging in thelong run.

While we're not debating whether planning is necessary in order tosucceed (there's no doubt it is), we need to discuss the extent ofthe planning required to succeed.

"I don't think about risks much. I just do what I want to do. If yougotta go, you gotta go." --Lillian Carter

Is it necessary to plan out each and every stage of the project inextreme detail in order for you to succeed? If so, than this conceptisn't quite what you're looking for. If you're able to adopt the "doit first, tweak it later" philosophy, then "Ready? Go! Tweak." isright for you. And you just might find yourself with a hugeadvantage later on. You would have planned less during the initialstages of the project, but overall, you were able to getinstantaneous feedback and finalize your plans along the way; aprocess I call: Spot Planning.

Spot Planning Spot Planning is the process of creating plans andmaking decisions concurrent to launch. It's on-the-spot decisionmaking as opposed to pre-planning. It gives you the flexibility ofdeciding on-the-go without stalling or disrupting progress. The keyto this is the effectiveness of the spot planners.

Spot planners are able to:

* Understand the time implications of a project * Make quick andaccurate decisions * Thrive in ambiguous situations * Deal with manystages of a project at once (planning, implementation, tweaking,promotion, etc.)

Do any of those characteristics describe you? I hope so!

Tweaking Performance One Shot at a Time

Let's go through another example to reinforce the idea behindtweaking. Imagine that you're brand new to archery and you're takenout to a controlled shooting environment. The instructor will giveyou a prize if you can hit the target. Then you're given two options:

Option 1: You have 1 arrow, so you must aim carefully before youshoot. Once you've shot that single arrow, it's gone! Boom! Bye,bye! So in order to succeed, you'll probably want to take as muchtime as you'd like to make sure the shot goes as planned.

Option 2: You have 100 arrows, but you're not allowed to aim ascarefully before you shoot. Instead, you're only allowed to shootand tweak your performance after every shot. In essence, you'll becontinually improving with each arrow fired. By the 100th shot,you'll be more accustomed to the angles, environment, wind and otherfactors. Odds are better that you'll hit the target with 100 chancesthan with only one.

"Each trial brings progression, and only through progression willsuccess be born." --Ronnie Nijmeh

In reality, you may not be given 100 chances to succeed, but the keypoint is that there's an opportunity for trial and error in mostbusiness and personal experiences. So use these opportunities wisely!

The importance of tweaking your idea, product, or service each timearound can't be stressed enough. Did it work the first time around?If so, you know what may work in the future. If not, find out whatneeds improving, tweak it, then try again.


You can't always be perfect. You can't always write the perfectreport, have the perfect product, or simply "be" perfect. You'reprone to make mistakes and have flaws (whether major or minor). Butthat shouldn't stop you! Acknowledge that you can't always beperfect and use the effort to learn, grow and adapt.

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how closethey were to success when they gave up." --Thomas A. Edison

If you prolong the planning stage in search of "that perfect ending"or "that perfect feature" you won't be progressing on to new levelsof success. And if only you're willing to let go, you may realizejust how close you are to success! Parents, doesn't this soundfamiliar (perhaps when your child moves away for the first time)?

Tough Questions

It should be noted that not all initiatives should utilizethe "Ready? Go! Tweak." technique. I wouldn't say that a car companycould "tweak" their faulty brakes after it's been released to thepublic. Nor would you want to experiment in an already establishedand competitive market.

So ask yourself:

In your business, project or venture, is it possible to begin afterthe minimum amount of planning? What are the negative effects ofdoing so? Will you be slingshot into the lead if you use the "Ready?Go! Tweak." and "Spot Planning" techniques? Are you able to affordmaking mistakes or deferring decisions until after the launch date?Are you working with a smaller, more adaptable team?

If you're in a position to launch with the minimal amount ofplanning and are willing to tinker along the way, you just mightfind yourself in first place when all is said and done. Can you doit?

Author's Bio: 

© Copyright 2003, Ronnie Nijmeh, The ACQYR teamprovides the masses with witty yet strategic ideas leading to self-improvement and growth. For more information and exciting, freshmotivational articles, visit: Live. Learn. ACQYR.