Winning the war – one story at a time

In June, 1941 the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) was created. Less than six months later the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, and the USAAF was immediately ordered to ramp up its number of pilots, not by hundreds, not by thousands, but by tens of thousands.

This presented a major challenge. It wasn’t about getting enough potential pilots in the door, there were plenty of volunteers. It was actually about finding the volunteers with the right skills and temperament to survive training and eventually become pilots.

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What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘strategy’?

Cynthia A. Montgomery is the Timken Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. One of the programs she teaches is for accomplished executives and entrepreneurs in one of Harvard’s flagship programs.

Very early on in the program she asks these senior business people to list three words that come to mind when they hear the word strategy. Collectively they have produced 109 words, frequently giving top billing to ‘plan‘, ‘direction‘, and ‘competitive advantage‘.

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Overcoming the curse of knowledge

Once you know something, it’s almost impossible to imagine what it was like not to know it. This makes it difficult when you want to share your knowledge with others – your knowledge has “cursed” you.

You know exactly how it works but find it difficult to explain it to someone who has no understanding of it, because you can’t remember what it felt like not to know. This can make communication a real challenge, but there is a strategy that can help.

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