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The Fog of War

The Fog of War

By: Ross Paterson
The Fog of War is a term credited to Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian general, and a military theorist. It describes the uncertainty and ambiguity that participants experience in active battlefield situations. It certainly translates into the life of the entrepreneur/business owner in the midst of a global pandemic.


October through December is generally defined as the fourth quarter in the business world. Finishing strong is important. XtraMilers also have to start setting up for the coming year. Business owners, are you finding this difficult to do? I know we are. The fog seems particularly dense right now.


Over the next four weeks, we want to help business owners in the Small-Medium Business (SMB) community cut through the fog. We will never achieve certainty, but the leader must create clarity. Today we will start with THE TEAM.


I have led and been part of so many high performing teams in my career (Military, Corporate, Non-profit, Small Business). Life has brought changes, challenges, highs, lows, recessions, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, fateful tragedies, and now a pandemic. In 35 years of craziness and chaos, the one thing that made the difference in cutting through the fog is the power of the people in my tribe.


Who is with you? Who are you with?


SMB owners have an abundance of control over who we hire, train, coach, and keep on our teams. Own this Truth. When the fog clears, the businesses with the strongest and most versatile people are going to be ready to pounce on emerging opportunities in the marketplace. Our XtraMiler clients are intentionally taking action in these four areas.


  • Build Camaraderie: The mutual trust and fellowship between people who spend a lot of time together.
  • Develop Leaders: Everyone wins when leaders get better. Make your leaders better and develop new ones.
  • Enhance Technical Skills: With world-class content free (or very affordable) on the internet, we don’t have the excuse to not improve our skills.
  • Build a Virtual Bench: Always be looking for future talent, share the vision, make a move when you have an opening.


There is another part of the business owner’s tribe that is dangerously and even tragically, neglected. Being in a relationship with peers and mentors who are on the same journey. It doesn’t matter how you accomplish this interaction. Informally on the golf course, with a coffee, over a beer, or formally participating with your peers in an XM Performance Leadership Forum. The cost in terms of pain, slow growth, low profit, and overwhelmedness are real. Intentionally connecting with leaders who are in the same battle will help you overcome.  I guarantee it.


Next blog, how a focused THEME will help you cut through the fog.