Changes in environment often require changes in thinking.
In 1876 two mortal enemies found that the differences they had between them paled in comparison to the a threat both of them encountered. After the Civil War, the U.S. government turned it’s attention to the Wild West and the fight against the Indians – or as they called them, “savages”.
Two warring tribes, the Lakota Sioux and the Cheyenne were being relentlessly pursued by the U.S. Army, and specifically, General Armstrong Custer. After numerous skirmishes with minor military leaders, they learned of Custer’s intention of attacking them in Southern Montana.
Neither the Sioux nor the Cheyenne would have had the upper hand separately, but together, the result could be different. The Lakota chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull met secretly with Cheyenne chief Gall and devised a plan for their survival.
Plan included playing off of Custer’s well known arrogance. The Sioux set up their encampment of 20,000 plus on the banks of the Little Big Horn river. Sitting Bull moved the women and children down river while Crazy Horse amassed the Sioux warriors in the cover of brush. As the Army moved in to attack, they were surprised from the rear by Gall and his Cheyenne. Outnumbered by the Cheyenne alone, Custer retreated towards the banks of the Little Big Horn only to come face to face with the Sioux.
The infamous battle of Custer’s Last Stand lasted only twenty minutes with Custer’s army being annihilated.
While the current economic climate may not equate to the dire situation the Sioux and Cheyenne faced… lessons can learned. Our enemies of a year ago – the competition down street, may well be our life line to survival now. Recently, there have been talks of a General Motors and Chrysler merger. Bank mergers and buyouts are in the news every week.
New thinking is not just a luxury anymore. It’s mandatory. Business as usual has become no business at all. Look at everything from an opportunity standpoint – your competition, your suppliers, everyone. How can you combine your and other’s assets and clients to become not just sustainable but uniquely positioned for inevitable economic upturn down the road.
If you ever see the site of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, you will see scores of small white crosses running down the hill towards the river. They represent where the Army soldiers fell and died. While the recession may not deliver your little white cross … it’ll deliver somebody’s.
Take advantage of these times to think new and bury old conceptions and archaic business practices. Do you want to be Crazy Horse, or do want to be Custer. Think about it.
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