Brilliant Manoeuvre
Never assume you’re completely right about your enemy (or competitors)… nor completely wrong either.

Warren Buffett, CEO and principal shareowner of Berkshire Hathaway just presided over his company’s annual meeting of shareholders. According to this morning’s Wall Street Journal, Buffett took the outstanding step of inviting a well-known investor who’s selling Berkshire’s stock short. Buffett’s point from this, apart from the obvious newsworthiness, is that he likes to seek contrary opinions. His main message according to the WSJ? Doubt yourself. Of course he doesn’t mean to lack faith in one’s means. Rather, he says to question your own certainties. This is a highly developed approach to management and leadership. Whether in war or business, the biggest mistakes come from irrational belief in the correctness of one’s progostications. It takes a big person to consider contrary opinions and views. Buffett’s success as an investor shows that this is a very prudent and wise thing to do.

What competitive threats are you facing? What capabilities do your competitors have? Can you estimate their intentions? Do you have advisors who systematically question your assumptions and provide a contrary point of view?

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

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