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We find ourselves coming back to the principles expressed in these lessons time and time again. We share them with the hope they will help you think more clearly, learn more efficiently, and adapt faster to a constantly changing business environment.

Before we can get our businesses unstuck, we must get our thinking unstuck. We need to look at the world as it is—not necessarily how we’ve grown accustomed to seeing it. If we’re successful in doing so, we’ll be better equipped to make sense of our place in the world. That’s crucial. After all, how can you plot a course to your destination without knowing where you are today?

Our orientation—our informed answer to the question, “What’s going on here?”—helps us focus on the decisions we must make regarding the next steps. Of course, deciding is not acting. Insights don’t transform into results by themselves. Time and hard work are usually involved.

One turn of the intellectual crank won’t cut it in a changing world, though. We must commit to an endless cycle of learning: observing, orienting, deciding, and acting. Learning isn’t always fun. To make our learning effective requires both balancing and reinforcing feedback.

Communicating our understanding is essential in human affairs, including business. Drawings, sketches, images, and other visual representations can be a great help in conveying, sharing, and co-creating useful insights.