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  1. 1. How to Use the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck for Business Planning Robert Cantrell Center For Advantage www.centerforadvantage.com [email_address] (703) 379-9429
  2. 2. Contents <ul><li>Innovation Planner Description </li></ul><ul><li>Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck Description </li></ul><ul><li>Basic Business Planning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify the Problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create a Cause and Effects Net </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial Problem Solving Effort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expanding the Solution </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Center of Gravity </li></ul><ul><li>Decision Cycle </li></ul><ul><li>Games </li></ul><ul><li>Additional Resources </li></ul>
  3. 3. Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck Description <ul><li>The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck Description </li></ul><ul><li>Card Types </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck Description <ul><li>The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck is a 54 card set of competitive strategies that helps users make better decisions faster by considering all aspects of their power to succeed </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck Description <ul><li>It is based on Sun Tzu’ Art of War and is derived from the analysis of strategic masterminds to include Sun Tzu, Lao Tzu, Musashi, Boyd, Kasporov, Lawrence, the unknown author of the classic Chinese strategies, and the concepts behind the classic strategy games of Chess, Go, and Poker. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck - Applicability to the Military <ul><li>The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck is useful in business for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategy education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Threat analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business planning for competitive strategy – key topic of this brief </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Specifics on Business Planning <ul><li>Art of War cards in particular deal with the type of business planning that goes on behind closed doors to allow you to win in a competitive marketplace </li></ul><ul><li>Your goal is to legally and ethically create an “unfair” advantage over your competition </li></ul>
  8. 8. Card Types <ul><li>There are 4 card themes in the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elimination – All spades involve eliminating something.  That something may be an adversary, an option, an objective, time, etc.  You remove something from the contest. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Isolation – All diamonds involve isolating something.  This something may be an adversary, an option, an objective, time, etc.  You separate something from something else. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preparation of the Field of Contest – All clubs involve shaping the field of contest.  You create the conditions, such as confusion on the part of your adversary, that better allow you to win. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preparation of Self – All hearts involve shaping yourself.  You set your disposition to that best suited to reach your goal and present your adversary with appearances that cause him to act against his best interests. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Underlying Principle <ul><li>EIIN </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eliminate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Isolate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integrate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>At the core of all competitive strategy, you are trying to win markets while effecting at least one of these EIIN on your competitor </li></ul><ul><li>To win any conflict, you have to be able to effect at least one of these EIIN on your competitor </li></ul>
  10. 10. Definitions <ul><li>Elimination means your competitor has no effective presence in the market </li></ul><ul><li>Isolation means your competitor has no effective capacity to go beyond where he already has </li></ul><ul><li>Integration means you or your competitor are effectively brought together in a mutually supportive way </li></ul><ul><li>Negation means it no longer matters what your competitor does because he cannot hurt you </li></ul>
  11. 11. Basic Business Planning <ul><li>Basic Planning Steps </li></ul><ul><li>Steps 1 to 4 </li></ul>
  12. 12. Incorporate All Aspects of Power <ul><li>The Art of War cards provides a comprehensive tool to assess, decide, and act on objectives with all physical, psychological, and moral aspects of innovative, economic, political, and social power </li></ul><ul><li>It is designed to supplement current planning methods by increasing the menu of possibilities considered for business planning </li></ul>
  13. 13. Incorporate All Aspects of Power <ul><li>It also serves to make the powerful ideas behind Effects Based Strategy tangible and useful even to those without much training in EBS </li></ul>
  14. 14. Basic Military Planning <ul><li>Basic Business Planning involves the Art of War cards and any other planning tools you might be using </li></ul>
  15. 15. Basic Business Planning
  16. 16. Step 1: Identify the Problem
  17. 17. Step 1: Identify the Problem <ul><li>Business planning takes place to resolve problems typically caused by an unmet opportunity or a competitor’s actions and desires that go against your best interests </li></ul><ul><li>Ask and answer: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the problem you wish to resolve? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the cause of the problem? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the effect of the problem? </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Step 1: Identify the Problem <ul><li>For example, consider a problem involving new competitors and customer defection </li></ul>Yields Cause Effect New Defection Competitors
  19. 19. Step 1: Identify the Problem <ul><li>The problem to you is not necessarily the new competitors themselves, but the changes that new competition will create* </li></ul><ul><li>The first level cause is the new competition </li></ul><ul><li>The first level effect of the new competition is customer defection </li></ul><ul><li>*This is an important distinction in planning because the best plans focus on the central problem, and you can only focus on the central problem if you really understand what it is </li></ul>
  20. 20. Step 1: Identify the Problem <ul><li>The problem is a point of view and describes how a cause or effect impacts you (the people leading the new competition might be delighted by the change) </li></ul><ul><li>The cause and the effect, however, are objective facts – i.e. in the absence of intervention, new competition may or may not create customer defections irrespective of your point of view on the matter </li></ul><ul><li>Your goal is to change some aspect of the cause, the causes of the cause, the effect, or the impact of the effect so that you no longer have the central problem </li></ul>
  21. 21. Step 1: Identify the Problem <ul><li>Sometime knowing the problem, its cause, and its effect provides enough information to resolve the problem. If so, skip to step 3 of Basic Business Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Sometime knowing the problem, cause, and effect is not enough to solve the problem. If so, go to step 2 of Basic Business Planning </li></ul>
  22. 22. Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net
  23. 23. Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net <ul><li>A basic problem has a cause and an effect </li></ul><ul><li>However this cause and effect does not take place in isolation </li></ul>Yields Cause Effect New Defection Competition
  24. 24. Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net <ul><li>Another cause yielded your cause and your effect will act as a cause for another effect </li></ul>Yields Cause Effect New Defection Competition Yields Cause Effect Open New Market Competition Yields Cause Effect Lost Revenues Defection
  25. 25. Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net <ul><li>Identify Root Causes – Think of your original cause as an effect and describe its preceding cause </li></ul><ul><li>Identify Ripple Effects – Think of your original effect as a cause for another effect and describe that next effect </li></ul><ul><li>Repeat backwards and forwards from the original problem as many times and with as many branches as makes sense </li></ul>
  26. 26. Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net <ul><li>A cause and effects net develops that is limitless in depth </li></ul>Root Causes “Ripple” Effects Yields Cause Effect New Defection Competition
  27. 27. Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net <ul><li>Your goal is to create your desired result as effectively and efficiently as possible anywhere along the cause and effects net that you can </li></ul>
  28. 28. Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net <ul><li>For example – If your goal is to keep new competition from causing undesired change, you could: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get to market with a better solution first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buy out competition in advance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide alternatives in your product suite </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diminish the new competition through the legal system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contain the defections to a specific segment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase your presence in the market to raise the stakes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decrease commitment to the affected market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embrace the competitor as a partner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Etc </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net <ul><li>Going through the cards helps you to assemble such lists of possibilities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get to market with a better solution first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buy out competition in advance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide alternatives in your product suite </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diminish the new competition through the legal system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contain the defections to a specific segment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase your presence in the market to raise the stakes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decrease commitment to the affected market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embrace the competitor as a partner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Etc </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net <ul><li>The more extensive your cause and effects net, and the earlier you deal with the problem, the more options you have to resolve that problem </li></ul><ul><li>Ideally you will resolve the problem without a direct market contest </li></ul><ul><li>If a market contest is necessary, you seek to win the competition in the fastest, most effective, and most efficient way possible </li></ul>
  31. 31. Step 3: Initial Problem Solving Effort
  32. 32. Step 3: Initial Problem Solving Effort <ul><li>In step 3, you start using the Art of War cards to help you resolve the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Each card has bullet points that serve a specific function </li></ul>
  33. 33. Step 3: Initial Problem Solving Effort <ul><li>Browse the Art of War cards for ideas to change the cause or the effect </li></ul><ul><li>If you have set up a cause and effects chain or net in step 2, consider any of the causes or effects in the system </li></ul>
  34. 34. Step 3: Initial Problem Solving Effort <ul><li>Consider each card: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it useful? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you use it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How might you use it? </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Step 3: Initial Problem Solving Effort <ul><li>Sometimes the strategy and basis provide enough information to solve the problem. If so, record your solution and put it into the plan </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes the strategy and basis do not provide enough information to solve the problem. If so, go to step 4 </li></ul><ul><li>If the strategy is not useful, choose another card </li></ul>
  36. 36. Step 4: Expanding the Solution
  37. 37. Step 4: Expanding the Solution <ul><li>Expanding the solution involves developing the strategy or strategies chosen to resolve a problem into the concept of a plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Goal and Objectives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Execution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Service & Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Step 4: Expanding the Solution <ul><li>For example, lets suppose that two competitors have postured to fight a price war and threaten, therefore, to cut into badly needed profits </li></ul>
  39. 39. Step 4: Expanding the Solution <ul><li>The problem is economic harm to you that will come from the disruption of a profitable market environment </li></ul><ul><li>The cause of the problem is two competitors that can find no better way to compete than to start slashing prices </li></ul><ul><li>The effect is a disruption of market profitability that your company needs for good business </li></ul>
  40. 40. Step 4: Expanding the Solution <ul><li>If ‘Change the Scope of the Engagement’ appears useful for dealing with the competitive moves, you might ask how you will implement ‘Change the Scope of the Engagement’ </li></ul><ul><li>You may already have an idea, or you can seek out another or additional ideas on other cards </li></ul>
  41. 41. Step 4: Expanding the Solution <ul><li>You might decide to ‘Change the Scope of the Engagement’ by choosing to take sides, at least initially, by creating a marketing alliance </li></ul>
  42. 42. Step 4: Expanding the Solution <ul><li>You might decide that aiding the fortunes of one competitor might allow market forces to eliminate the other competitor’s effective market presence </li></ul>
  43. 43. Step 4: Expanding the Solution <ul><li>Or in fact, it might help you eliminate both adversaries, since you can deal with the other after you have dealt with the one </li></ul>
  44. 44. Step 4: Expanding the Solution <ul><li>This being the plan behind the plan the competitor you aided does not see or cannot do much about </li></ul><ul><li>Your planning does not stop here… </li></ul>
  45. 45. Step 4: Expanding the Solution <ul><li>The deck allow you do go to any level of detail you intend to go </li></ul><ul><li>However, since the deck does have a military origin, remember that in business all things you could do may include things you should not do </li></ul><ul><li>Write each decided strategy into your plan </li></ul>
  46. 46. Step 4: Expanding the Solution <ul><li>Keep in mind that the strategy on any given card may serve as the answer to any other given card </li></ul><ul><li>The details of how to use a strategy require your expertise in your particular domain, and a solid understanding of other domains </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Change the Scope of the Engagement’ may mean something different to a marketing officer versus a financial officer or member of the board, even though the underlying principle is the same </li></ul>
  47. 47. Center of Gravity
  48. 48. Center of Gravity <ul><li>The Center of Gravity is the element within a system that, by creating some change to that element, will produce your intended result </li></ul><ul><li>A key part of business planning is knowing where best to effect change </li></ul>
  49. 49. Center of Gravity <ul><li>The Center of Gravity card prompts you to consider all physical and behavioral aspects of a system in order to achieve the desired effect (resolved problem) with the minimal use of resources </li></ul>
  50. 50. Center of Gravity <ul><li>To illustrate the concept, if you have a cup of cold water and an objective to cool down a vat of boiling water, you might best meet your objective by using the water to douse the fire under the vat instead of pouring it into the vat itself </li></ul><ul><li>The fire would be your center of gravity for effecting the desired change in that system </li></ul>
  51. 51. Center of Gravity <ul><li>The ideal business center of gravity opens opportunity with a minimal expenditure of your own energy </li></ul><ul><li>The objective might include to gain innovative leadership by raising the pace you can introduce new products to the market </li></ul>
  52. 52. Center of Gravity <ul><li>Your ability to innovate at a faster pace could serve to cripple your competitor’s capacity to influence market trends </li></ul><ul><li>Or you might force him to take action to defend himself in a way you have prepared to receive him </li></ul>
  53. 53. Center of Gravity <ul><li>All systems have elements and processes that turn input into output </li></ul>Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system
  54. 54. Center of Gravity <ul><li>Your goal is to find the most effective and efficient place in a system to effect a desired change </li></ul>Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system
  55. 55. Center of Gravity <ul><li>For example, all members of a business need to communicate with each other and seek to improve that element of control </li></ul>Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system
  56. 56. Center of Gravity <ul><li>A likely Center of Gravity is to turn this idea into a decisive competitive advantage by improving how market information is used for sales </li></ul>Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system
  57. 57. Center of Gravity <ul><li>Which means that anywhere you choose you can respond and deliver to market needs faster than your competitor </li></ul>Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system
  58. 58. Center of Gravity <ul><li>And your capacity to act or not act with some measure of secrecy gives your company a larger psychological presence than physical presence </li></ul>Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system
  59. 59. Center of Gravity <ul><li>Always keeping in mind, however, that your competitor is intelligent and resourceful, and will, given the opportunity and time, find a way to counter your successes with some other form of competition </li></ul><ul><li>A key to defending against him is to stay one cycle ahead of him in your planning (See Decision Cycle coming up) </li></ul>
  60. 60. Center of Gravity <ul><li>In a cause and effects net, you look for where you can effect the most change with the least effort as a prime location for a solution </li></ul><ul><li>You also look for areas where a competitor cannot make easy adjustments </li></ul>Root Causes “Ripple” Effects Yields Cause Effect Fire Boiling Water
  61. 61. Center of Gravity <ul><li>The is an underlying idea behind striking with a borrowed hand used successfully by corporations that can afford to employ lobbyists to create their best market environment </li></ul>
  62. 62. Center of Gravity <ul><li>It is important to conduct business planning against yourself to anticipate what a competitor might target as a center of gravity against you </li></ul>
  63. 63. Center of Gravity <ul><li>Bottom line: Use the Center of Gravity card to consider all aspects of where to best position a solution for opportunities and threats </li></ul>
  64. 64. Decision Cycle
  65. 65. Decision Cycle <ul><li>Winning in business involves resolving problems for prospective customers and directly or indirectly causing problems for your competitors </li></ul><ul><li>For example, a plan that gives you control of a key market creates a problem for a competitor that no longer leads that market </li></ul>
  66. 66. Decision Cycle <ul><li>Your objective is to win the race of decision cycles whereby your plan can not only work, but work despite active opposition to your success </li></ul><ul><li>You accomplish this by creating situations that your competitor cannot deal with at your pace, which has the byproduct of causing him to make exploitable mistakes </li></ul>
  67. 67. Decision Cycle <ul><li>The intent behind the Art of War cards is to accelerate transitions in thought </li></ul><ul><li>You make better decisions faster because you: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not have to reinvent strategies that are already known before you use them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are not limited, in a crisis, to selecting only those strategies at the top of your mind </li></ul></ul>
  68. 68. Decision Cycle <ul><li>Bottom Line: You will have opposition when your solutions create a problem for someone else </li></ul><ul><li>For Business Planning, you want to create rapid transitions that delight customers and keep competitors off balance </li></ul><ul><li>What appears to be the best decision is generally not your best decision if your competitor can anticipate it </li></ul>
  69. 69. Games <ul><li>Art of War Cards Games Description </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strateffects™ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategy Sparring </li></ul></ul>
  70. 70. Games Description Art of War Cards <ul><li>Strateffects™ provides a game for seeking problems along a cause and effects net </li></ul><ul><li>Other games act like sparring for the mind and improve strategic mental agility </li></ul>
  71. 71. Strateffects™ A game for the world as it is… <ul><li>1. Select a strategic problem to solve.  </li></ul><ul><li>2. Describe what the problem is and what the problem means. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Build a cause and effects chain forward and backward from the problem.  For example, if the problem is “I do not have outside support, meaning I will have to proceed on my own,” you might go forward with “I will have to proceed on my own, meaning I will have to succeed with the resources I have,” and then “I will have to succeed with the resources I have, meaning I will have only one chance to reach my objective.”  You might go backward with “I have moved beyond the capacity of my support to reach me, meaning I do not have outside support,” and before that, “my objective is remote, meaning I have to move beyond the capacity of my support to reach me.”  Go forward and backward at least two steps from the central problem; branches are acceptable.  (Within reason, the broader your cause and effects chain or net, the better your potential result.) </li></ul>
  72. 72. Strateffects™ A game for the world as it is… <ul><li>4. Deal at least five Strategy cards from the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck to each player. </li></ul><ul><li>5. Allow each player, on successive turns, to apply a Strategy card anywhere along the cause and effects chain – to include supporting previously played cards – in a way that supports the resolution of the original strategic problem.  For the example in #2 above, the card 10 of Diamonds, FEINT IN THE EAST, ACT IN THE WEST, evokes the possibility that you might draw an adversary away from your objective thereby eliminating your need for support at the objective.  Queen of Hearts, CREATE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING, evokes the possibility you might cause your adversary to believe you have support even though you do not.  You might further develop the Queen of Hearts by playing the 3 of Clubs, SOW A DISCORD, that evokes the possibility you might allow your adversaries to discover “secrets” that are actually false – the secret in this example being that your support has greater reach than it does. </li></ul>
  73. 73. Strateffects™ A game for the world as it is… <ul><li>6. Draw cards to replace those used. </li></ul><ul><li>7. Play until you have a plan, succeed at a plan, or until cards run out. </li></ul><ul><li>8. For real world problems, play is continuous as the situation changes. </li></ul><ul><li>9. You win as a team by solving the strategic problem, though a moderator or group consensus can award the designation of winner for training games. </li></ul>
  74. 74. Strategy Sparing <ul><li>Strategy Sparring™ is a game developed with Foreign Services officers.  Just like physical martial arts sparing, there is no winner per say in this game.  The goal is to improve the thinking skills under fire of both participants.  You use the cards from the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck to exercise your mind and develop real-time strategic agility on your feet. </li></ul><ul><li>Shuffle the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck , and draw five cards each.  Decide who goes first.  Draw another card from the deck and place the card face up on the table.  In less than 10 seconds, have the first player select a counterstrategy from his card deck, place that card face up on the table, and draw a replacement card from the deck.  In less than 10 seconds, have the second player select a counter strategy to the first player’s card, place that card face up on the table, and draw a replacement card from the deck.  Continue this sparing cycle until you go through the entire deck.  (If you have a chess clock or two stop watches, you can use them to keep up the pace and make the sparing more competitive.) </li></ul>
  75. 75. Additional Resources This concludes How to Use the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck for Business Planning Additional resources appear at www.centerforadvantage.com www.artofwarcards.com
  76. 76. Also by Robert Cantrell <ul><li>Heartland Reviews </li></ul><ul><li>As a retired military intelligence professional and conflict theorist, I must say this is the best interpretation of Sun Tzu’s classic work I have read. The author focuses on the meanings behind this ancient Chinese war philosopher’s writings. He puts them into a modern context, making them easy to understand. Apparently the Department of Defense agrees with me on this, since they have selected Mr. Cantrell’s book as a text for the National War College in Washington DC. This is a must read for all military officers and business leaders. It rated a perfect five hearts. </li></ul><ul><li>Bob Spear </li></ul><ul><li>Chief Reviewer for Heartland Reviews, Leavenworth, KS </li></ul>

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