One of the things I enjoy about the great outdoors is how frequently it reminds me of good practices for business and relationships in general. I’m sharing these snapshots taken while out on a hike in a coastal preserve yesterday afternoon for that reason: while I observed, this osprey repeatedly looked out, and then turned his/her focus on me — in this case, I was nearby with a camera and the osprey wanted to keep an eye on me to make sure I wasn’t a threat.
Since ospreys fish for their dinner, the osprey must look carefully to see below the surface; I suppose they’re scanning for anything that disturbs the surface of the water. But they must distinguish between surface ripple caused by a passing breeze and surface disruption caused by some fish (there’s my dinner!) swimming near the surface.
There are obvious parallels between the osprey’s behavior and essential practice for a business. First, the organization’s leadership must regularly scan the horizon to see what’s coming that will affect their operations, while also keeping an eye on what the competitors are doing, and what might become a threat to their continued success. Second, there’s a need to determine whether a situation or event primarily presents an opportunity or is a threat; frequently an event, situation, or trend possesses both qualities.
In my practice as a designer, I work with each client to understand the specific “surroundings” of their business so I can identify both opportunities and threats. Every business has its share of each, but the response helps shape any situation into an opportunity.