I confess I listen to more than my share of CBC Radio One (Winnipeg version), and I have a habit when I’m driving of catching a good interview, tuning in, and then later when I’ve heard something I like, I can’t tell who said it, or sometimes even in what context it may have been said.
So it is that the other day I was listening to the radio and cannot cite the proper source for a good quote I heard, just an offhand comment by an interviewee:
In part one and part two of this blog-intro series, I talked about the notion of business decisions at a glance based on an almost intuitive understanding of the field of play. The phrase coup d’oeil is taken from the military, and refers to the ability of the rare commander who posesses an exceptionally quick understanding of the field of battle and can make strategic decisions quickly. This ability is based largely on experience and analysis at a subconscious level. From this background, the final installment in this trilogy announces what I hope to achieve on this blog.
In part one of this series, we — or at least I — decided that people have an almost intuitive ability to reach snap conclusions or rapid cognition of a situation based on a depth of insight that we don’t know we have and are hard-pressed to explain. We further posited that this situation has been somewhat unwelcome in business — it makes us uncomfortable, but it is nonethless present. While many professions have a term for this ability, the field of business does not. In the world of military strategy, it’s known as coup d’oeil, or “the power of the glance.”
What I’m doing here is taking a phrase from military usage — coup d’oeil — and applying it to the business world. The allusions have been made before,
Coup d’oeil. Anyone who’s read Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller Blink may catch the title; those with the urge to pronounce may want to hear it first. The non-Francophones among us (myself included) are likely to butcher the phrase… but sometimes foreign phrases convey meaning so much better than the translated explanation. Like schadenfreude or mensch or ubuntu or Zeitgeist or vox populi.