I find in my interactions that one of the most useful aspects of military wisdom to business, and life in general, is simply to not assume that you know everything, and that you’ve got everything figured out.

I find that too often business leaders assume that their plans will work to perfection just because, well, they’ve planned it that way. As military history and experience teaches us–and as cogently expressed by Donald Rumsfeld–there are known unknowns as well as unknown unknowns.

Military wisdom teaches us that we have to be prepared for anything, that we must make hard choices about how to allocate scarce resources, that we must consider many different scenarios and options before we decide on a final plan, and that we must keep reserves and contingency plans in our back pocket just in case we were terribly wrong about what we thought the enemy would do, or the weather, or anything else for that matter.

© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.

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