Far too often when I worked with schools and non-profits I would address potential pitfalls of new endeavors. The goal was never to belittle or dismiss but to make the teams aware of what they might face so they could avoid problems before they occurred. The teachers and administration at one school routinely dismissed these suggestions as “being negative.” I did the same with my own projects, only to hear, “why are you undermining your own success?”

I don’t call inversion thinking planning for failure, but a strategy for identifying and solving problems before they come to pass. The more problems we can anticipate and head off, the more energy and resources remain for problems we didn’t foresee. And even the most prescient planner misses something.

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