December 2017
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Turn the Map Around

Tool: Like “measure twice, cut once”, good advice can be deceptively simple.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I was an army officer. Films emphasize action, but most soldiering is “hurry up and wait” and, for officers, endless planning. Armies like organization and our planning was very structured. One of my tasks was to analyze terrain.
 
I was taught that there were many ways to look at where we would operate – and  seeing it through the enemy’s eyes was essential. One of the simplest tools was to turn the map around and look at our positions from the enemy’s point of view
 
Simple, but effective

The method is as simple as it sounds. You turn the map 180 degrees and look at the terrain from the other direction. The results can be startlingly obvious – and quite revealing.
 
The simplicity of the method makes it easy to learn and easy to incorporate into your risk analysis processes. Its effectiveness is usually self-explanatory, which makes it easy to justify adopting. The drawback, if any, is that it is so simple that it can be easy to overlook.
 
Opportunities, threats, and the “surprisingly obvious”

The technique often answered a lot of questions for us very quickly. The enemy’s “most likely avenue of approach” was usually clear once you looked at the ground from their side. Our weaknesses were likewise usually obvious.
 
The big competitor that you always worry about may envy how your small size enables you to be nimble and sieze opportunities for which their organization is too cumbersome. The market you find confusing may seem simple viewed from the customer’s perspective.

Change your perspective and things may look very different.

The way something looks depends on where you stand. Shopkeepers always walk outside to look at their window displays from the passersby’s point of view. Maybe you should too.

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