Of Risks and Strategies
He had never realized before what a good trap an inn made. Hake, Jak, and Strom did not even have to keep a close on eye on them; the crowd would let them know if he or Mat left the dais. As long as the common room was full, Hake could not send Jak and Strom after them, but as long as the common room was full of people they could not get away without Hake knowing. And Gode was watching their every move, too. It was so funny he would have laughed if he had not been on the point of throwing up. They would just have to be wary and wait their chance.
The Eye of the World, p. 402
Prior to Four Kings, Mat and Rand figured out to use their meager skills as "apprentice gleemen" to barter for food and beds. This plan worked well in their favor; with "every daylight hour [being] spent traveling." At Hake's inn in Four Kings, previously unrecognized risks materialized: the same food and protection that an inn gives can be an effective jail.
'Risk' and 'risk mitigation' are used ubiquitously these days. While it may diminish the impact of the terms, assessing risks to the current plan are a leader's prerogative. Risk assessment is a multi-variable equation that considers a leader's overall experience, experiences specific to that project type, the complexity of the project, the numbers of stakeholders, supply chain logistics, funding, etc. Rand and Mat, having grown up in a tight knit community and still very naive in the game, never even considered that they had anything of value worth stealing, so they never considered any strategy to help minimize their risk. Strategizing is inherent in the risk assessment and mitigation process; it's far easier to develop strategies before a project gets underway than to be like Rand and Mat, warily waiting for an opportune moment to break free. In fact, with enough effort and consideration, leaders can turn the potential negative impacts of a risk into more favorable opportunities. Doing this in the moment is being a "tactical genius"; doing this well in advance of the project is "solid planning". Both are achievable, but having good planning practices is considerably more relatable than trying to pull off high risk/high reward gambles in the moment.