One of the most intimidating and innovative developments in modern warfare was the German Blitzkrieg (lightning war).
In WWII, to avoid the drawn-out trench fighting of previous wars, the Germans concentrated mobile divisions into rapid, narrow offensive forces that caught their enemies completely unprepared.
The Blitzkrieg faced progressively diminishing opposition as it rushed into Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France like the tip of a spear.
In most cases, the devastating results the blitz would produce forced opposing commanders simply to surrender than to face what felt like an invincible monster bearing down on them.
The Blitzkrieg strategy was designed to exploit the very flinch of the enemy, so that opponents would collapse at the sight of what appeared to be an overwhelming force.
Many Allied leaders sullenly asked the question, “but how can we stop it?”
With their backs against the wall – at risk of being pushed right back onto the beaches they purchased at such high cost, the Americans answered the call. One great American leader, General Dwight D. Eisenhower tasked himself with answering that question.
He swore off and banned anymore quivering and deflated input from his generals.
“The present situation is to be regarded as an opportunity for us and not disaster. There will only be cheerful faces at this conference table!”
With this change of frame, Eisenhower was able to see the tactical solution that had been in front of them the entire time: the Nazi strategy carried its own destruction within itself.
The Battle of the Falaise Pocket and the Battle of the Bulge were two major triumphs that turned the tide for the Allies in where they employed a bend-don’t-break defense, allowing the blitzkrieg to rush headfirst into a net – or “meat grinder,” as Patton put it.
The Allies allowed the Germans to rush their forward wedge as far as they would want to stretch it, then encircling them and attacking from the sides and rear. If you didn’t cower under the might of the blitz, you could see how exposed the enemy’s flanks were.
Its natural to feel overwhelmed, discouraged or upset by obstacles – but after you’ve controlled your emotions, and you can stand steadily, what will you do?
“There is good in everything, if only we look for it.”
-Laura Ingalls Wilder
How much longer would the war have gone on if it wasn’t for the perceptual shift?
How many more lives would have been lost?
A (seemingly) immense obstacle has the ability to seduce you into telling yourself a story about how you are at just too much of a disadvantage to do anything about it but lay down.
Really, every situation is fair game for us to act, get creative, seek or create an alternate course.
In whatever you’re facing in your life, your business, your pipeline, what is the opportunity?