Tip: The faster you move towards the target the fewer course corrections you need to make.
It all started with a chat with an ex-army sniper. We were talking about how to achieve goals. And snipers know a thing or two about hitting targets.
How do you achieve goals, meet objectives, hit targets when you don’t know what they are? Everything you read about goal-setting tells you to make SMART goals first, that you can’t achieve anything if you don’t have a clear understanding of the goal.
There must be a way, I said. A way of working towards an uncertain goal and defining it more the closer you get.
He mentioned a ballistics problem known as the fire control problem. It describes how if you fire a missile at a plane by aiming at where the plane is now, the missile will miss because the plane will have moved by the time the missile gets there. So how do you shoot down the plane? How do you hit a moving target?
We began drawing out the elements of the problem. We drew the missile station on the ground and the plane moving through the sky. We called the area the plane was in the Target Space. We made notes as we drew and talked.
“Being able to course correct as the target moves is important, but you need feedback on where the target is now.”
“The faster you move towards the target the fewer course corrections you need to make.”
Those lessons from ballistic science give us the principles of The Fire Control Problem. They became the metaphor that we used to describe how to hit a moving target.