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I held my first group session in our new retreat facility last week, and midway though the morning  a huge boom at one of the windows overlooking the pond startled all of us. We looked up to see a hawk recovering its bearings, and flying back across the water into the woods.


A red-tailed hawk can reach about 25 MPH in level flight (120 MPH when diving—a peregrine can manage 150), and it must have been doing that when it collided with the class. A smaller bird would have killed itself, but the hawk’s beak must have absorbed the impact, and it looked fine albeit somewhat confused flying off.


I think we often collide with things we don’t see, yet, unlike the hawk, we’re sentient beings and should be able to surmise and predict. We collide with surprising buyer responses, with non-supportive stakeholders, with unexpected information, and with dilatory payment and deadlines unmet. If we’re small birds, these impediments can kill us. But even as large birds, they’ll give us quite a headache and force us to reverse course with even more dire results.


There’s nothing criminal about being surprised on occasion, but there is something negligent about being continually surprised. There’s nothing unique about encountering an unforeseen obstacle, but there is something reckless about charging full steam ahead into the unknown.


If you see what is clearly a buyer and are certain of no traps around that buyer, then by all means go to diving speed. But if you’re pursuing your own ideas in your own perspective and in duplication of what you’ve always done, you may want to slow down and reconnoiter. That clear sky you see might just be an illusion.


© Alan Weiss 2014

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Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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