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When is a Rock not a Rock?

I am reading a great book called 'Turn the Ship around' by L. David Marquet.  I found out about it from an off hand mention by Simon Sinek in an interview he was giving.  

"A little rudder far from the rocks to prevent needing a lot of rudder next to the rocks"  

The idea being that if you adjust your ship earlier to avoid a known problem it will take less effort/work than if you wait till your close.  For a submarine no one debates weather a rock is dangerous for the ship.  In business how can we apply this?  It got me thinking how not all hazards to the business are agreed that they are hazards, sometimes a rock isn't a rock. 

In what ways can we identify the rocks in our business path so that we can apply a little rudder?  How do we unify everyone on the team so that we can all agree that running ashore isn't what we want to happen to our ship?