‘Recon by fire’ and other military terms for business

by MPA14 Oct 2014
We’re not usually fans of jargon, which tends to state what we already know in ever more complicated ways. An exception can be made, however, by a recent blog by business writer and war veteran Jake Wood, in which he outlines military terms with potential business applications. Few can really claim to have experienced a battlefield, and so Wood’s terms could genuinely help us see more everyday situations in a new light.

BLUF (Bottom line up front)

A good way to get to the point: start your email with it i.e. ‘BLUF: we’re going to have to sack people’, rather than 10 lines concluding with ‘we’re going to have to let some people go’. This is obviously a term with incredible time-saving potential.

Commander’s Intent

Perhaps terming yourself ‘commander’ might not go down so well, but this term is good for planning. It describes what you want from the end of a process, whilst leaving your team to come up with a plan themselves: i.e. ‘my commander’s intent is a 10% increase in referrals this month’. It’s a guide rather than a plan, useful because “no plan survives contact with the enemy”.

Recon by fire

In a basic sense this term means experimental strategy, but Wood uses it in the sense of spotting an encroaching competitor. The key is to spot when something doesn’t seem right; i.e. a fall in the numbers at your property seminar, and conduct an experiment i.e. ask around to see if anyone else locally is running similar seminars.

Danger close target

Wood uses this term to describe the dangers that come with over-focusing on medium and long-term targets; you’re at risk of overlooking short term threats. By trying to get your social media strategy moving, for instance, you could be neglecting your old postal newsletter, and losing customers because of it.

Scope Fatigue

When you spend too long looking at the same thing (be it a sniper’s scope or a spreadsheet), you risk becoming tired, bored and/or frustrated. You need a pair of fresh eyes to pick out what you’ve been missing.

You can read Jake Wood’s original list on Linkedin Pulse.


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