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Looking back over the last two years quickly reveals a narrative of fear. In all the frenzies of panic-buying, the conspiracy theories and the misinformation that fed our anxiety, we have consistently been driven to hysteria by a very primal sense of fear.

While this kind of fear has led to some unfortunate consequences, the reality of fear in general is that it is our greatest mechanism for safety and survival – it is designed to keep us alive. In fact, while confidence may be attractive, it is simply dangerous when it reaches the level of arrogance – consider the cars full of over-confident young men in situations that have so often led to disaster.

This principle applies as much to business as it does to life. A healthy sense of paranoia in business is a crucial mechanism for remaining relevant. More often than not, the businesses that crash the hardest are those that were so distracted by their own success that they failed to read the signs and take seriously how quickly the competition was catching up.

Any of us who are familiar with the process of writing will no doubt know the critical importance of fresh perspectives. You can write the work, edit it, proofread it, reread it, and still miss the most glaringly obvious of mistakes. Within seconds, a set of new eyes picks up errors that had simply disappeared into the rest of the writing.

The power and importance of outsiders’ perspectives cannot be overlooked across all works, not least of which our businesses. Falling into comfortable patterns, familiar rhythms and efficient systems is an impulse that is hard to avoid in organisations, but nothing will kill agility, creativity and innovation faster than these.

When did you last truly look at your organization from an outsider’s perspective?

In an age characterised by disruption and change, competition which breaks the standing paradigms and conventions of the past is not only rampant but important. Unconventional competition is the biggest threat to established businesses and industries whose practices and market seem set and secure.