Seventy-five years ago today is the “day that will live in infamy”: the attack on Pearl Harbor. Those who were alive at the time will never forget it, but with each passing year it engenders less emotion in today’s Americans. The same is true for the 9-11 attacks; the patriotism that was palpable immediately following fades with each anniversary.

At Pearl Harbor, there were many signs that an attack could be coming, yet the fleet was never placed on high alert. The Americans knew that the Japanese had divided the harbor into zones, calling signals were changed and documents were being destroyed.  Military messages were intercepted and decoded, yet no one in command connected all these dots and saw an attack was imminent. As a result, over 2400 lives were lost at Pearl Harbor and an estimated 60 million people were killed in the resulting World War II.

Whether it be a literal war like WWII,  an economic assault on an industry, or simply a destruction of a relationship, massive change never is announced with a definitive proclamation. Upheavals occur with many warning signs available to keen observers before the damage is done. The music business did not pay attention to niche artists having access to music lovers through the explosion of distribution channels. The couple doesn’t initially give credence to the nagging silences or lack of spark.

Learn from Pearl Harbor and pay attention to the signs that the current action is about to be disrupted. Look for outliers and indicators. Make time to pause and reflect on what your senses are telling you. Start with the premise that change is coming and use the evidence to help predict how. Don’t leave your fleet stagnant in one harbor.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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