Going on the Offensive in an Uncertain World

THE TOOLS TO BUILD PERCEPTUAL ACUITY

The pressures of daily work and total immersion in tactical details can narrow your thinking and lower its altitude. Here are just a few tools to broaden your vision.

“In every staff meeting of an hour or more, devote the first 10 minutes to learning about and discussing the anomalies in the external landscape.”

THE 10-MINUTE EXERCISE. In every staff meeting of an hour or more, devote the first 10 minutes to learning about and discussing the anomalies in the external landscape. Ask a different staff member at each meeting to present to the team a past, present or possible structural uncertainty or bend in the road in another industry: What is it, why did it happen or why could it  happen?

SEEK CONTRARY VIEWPOINTS. Test your perceptions by talking with others, especially those you expect might have opposite views. Widen your social group, surrounding yourself with people from different industries and backgrounds, with different cognitive bandwidths and attitudes about risk-taking.

OCCASIONALLY DISSECT THE PAST. Spend time with colleagues and look at a big external change that hit your industry or another one in the past 50 years. Dissect that change.
There is much you can learn from a glance in the rear-view mirror.

CONSIDER WHO MIGHT CREATE A BEND IN THE ROAD. Is the creator of a new invention, patent or law driven to make a difference? Is someone else likely to use the invention? Who has the interest and/or resources to do something with it?

BE A VORACIOUS READER. Look for what surprises you, what is an anomaly. Reflect on what it might mean and for whom. Who will be on the attack, who on the defensive, and why? Is there a game-changer here?