6<br />By Sun Tzu<br />Strategic Principles<br />
“Ancient Principles for Future Battlefields,” is the one chapter of McNeilly’snew book, Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare. He applies the six principles that are developed from Sun Tzu's classic treatise on strategy, The Art of War, to help the reader understand this ancient wisdom's relevance to modern warfare. These principles have been utilized throughout time in both the military arena and the business world to build creative strategies and achieve lasting success. <br />If you use them properly, they will bring you success as well.<br />
McNeilly's Six Strategic Principles <br />1. Win All Without Fighting: Achieving the Objective Without Destroying It2. Avoid Strength, Attack Weakness: Striking Where the Enemy is Most Vulnerable3. Deception and Foreknowledge: Winning the Information War4. Speed and Preparation: Moving Swiftly to Overcome Resistance5. Shaping the Enemy: Preparing the Battlefield6. Character-Based Leadership: Leading by Example<br />
#1 Win All Without Fighting<br />Your aim must be to take all-under-heaven intact. Thus your troops are not worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art of offensive strategy.<br />
“Generally in war, the best policy is to take a state intact; to ruin it is inferior to this....For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” --Sun Tzu<br />
Since the goal of your business is to survive and prosper, you must capture your market. However, you must do so in such a way that your market is not destroyed in the process. A company can do this in several ways, such as attacking parts of the market that are under-served or by using subtle, indirect, and low-key approach that will not draw a competitor's attention or response. What should be avoided at all costs is a price-war. Research has shown that price attacks draw the quickest and most aggressive responses from competitors, as well as leaving the market drained of profits. <br />
#2 Avoid Strength,Attack Weakness<br />Now an army may be likened to water, for just as flowing water avoids the heights and hastens to the lowlands, so an army avoids strength and strikes weakness.<br />
“An army may be likened to water, for just as flowing water avoids the heights and hastens to the lowlands, so an army avoids strength and strikes weakness.” --Sun Tzu<br />
The Western approach to warfare has spilled over into business competition, leading many companies to launch head-on, direct attacks against their competitor's strongest point. This approach to business strategy leads to battles of attrition, which end up being very costly for everyone involved. Instead, you should focus on the competition's weakness, which maximizes your gains while minimizing the use of resources. This, by definition, increases profits. <br />
#3 Deception and Foreknowledge<br />Determine the enemy’s plans and you will know which strategy will be successful and which will not.<br />
“Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril” --Sun Tzu<br />
To find and exploit your competitor's weakness requires a deep understanding of their executives' strategy, capabilities, thoughts and desires, as well as similar depth of knowledge of your own strengths and weaknesses. It is also important to understand the overall competitive and industry trends occurring around you in order to have a feel for the “terrain” on which you will do battle. Conversely, to keep your competitor from utilizing this strategy against you, it is critical to mask your plans and keep them secret. <br />
#4 Speed and Preparation<br />Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where has taken no precautions. To rely on rustics and not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of Virtues.<br />
“To rely on rustics and not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues.” --Sun Tzu<br />
To fully exploit foreknowledge and deception, Sun Tzu states that you must be able to act with blinding speed. To move with speed does not mean that you do things hastily. In reality, speed requires much preparation. Reducing the time it takes your company to make decisions, develop products and service customers is critical. To think through and understand potential competitive reactions to your attacks is essential as well. <br />
#5 Shaping The Opponent<br />Look into the matter of his alliances and cause them to be severed and dissolved. If an enemy has alliances, the problem is grave and the enemy's position strong; if he has no alliances the problem is minor and the enemy's position weak. He who knows the art of the direct; (Cheng) and the indirect (Ch'i) approach will be victorious.<br />
“Therefore, those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him.” --Sun Tzu<br />
“Shaping you competition” means changing the rules of contest and making the competition conform to your desires and your actions. It means taking control of the situation away from your competitor and putting it in your own hands. One way of doing so is through the skillful use of alliances. By building a strong web of alliances, the moves of your competitors can be limited. Also, by controlling key strategic points in your industry, you will be able to call the tune to which your competitors dance. <br />
#6 Character-based Leadership<br />By command I mean the general’s qualitiesof wisdom, sincerity, humanity,<br /> courage and strictness.<br /> - If wise, a commander is able to recognize changing circumstances and to act expediently.<br /> - If sincere, his men will have no doubt of the certainty of rewards and punishments.<br /> - If humane, he loves mankind, sympathizes with others and appreciates their industry and toil.<br /> - If courageous, he gains victory by seizing opportunity without hesitation.<br /> - If strict, his troops are disciplined because they are in awe of him and are afraid of punishment.<br />
“When one treats people with benevolence, justice and righteousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders.” --Sun Tzu<br />
It takes a special kind of leader to implement these strategic concepts and maximize the tremendous potential of employees. Sun Tzu describes the many traits of the preferred type of leader. The leader should be wise, sincere, humane, courageous, and strict. Leaders must also always be “first in the toils and fatigues of the army”, putting their needs behind those of their troops. It is leaders with character that get the most out of their employees. <br />
The 4 Steps OfAdvance Cycle<br />Information leads to Focus, which leads to Action, which leads to Positioning, this leads to more Information, and so on.<br />
The 4 Steps Of Advance Cycle<br />These four parts are designed to find and exploit opportunities in the situation and advance your position.<br /><ul><li>Information - Listen to uncover new opportunities.
Action - Move to take advantage of that opportunity.
Position - Claim to get the rewarded from that opportunity.</li></li></ul><li>Without the complete Art of Strategy process, you do not make progress. Information without Focus is just curiosity. Focusing without Action is just dreaming. Action without Positioning is just dancing. An incomplete cycle is like 90 percent of a bridge. It does not get you anywhere. <br /> “All strategies are information strategies”. <br /> - Sun Tzu<br />
Information fills in the map of your situation, and Focus studies that Map to discover the best opportunity for changing your position. <br />
Focus targets a specific way to advance your position by filtering the unnecessary activities. <br />In fact, Vision comes from Focus. Vision is the ability to see a better future where others see only problems. The first purpose of Focus is to determine whether you should defend or attack.<br />
Action is like driving out to that destination. Every action is unique, and getting from one position to another requires judgment. <br />You have to pick the right path to get to your destination safely. None of the other drivers on the highway of life is trained. They are just an accident waiting to happen. <br />You must proceed at your own risk. <br />
Position: Every time you advance your position, you change your position. That new position is the basis for a new cycle of advance.<br />Success means making your advance pay off. This requires the final step of claiming your new position. The world is unfair, and unless you make the claim.<br />
In childhood, you should focus on collecting information. <br />As a teen, you should start developing some focus. <br />As an adult, you should start to take action. <br />By middle age, you should know how to position yourself.<br />This is the Art of Strategy to advance your position. <br />Thank You Very Much<br />Sompong Yusoontorn<br />
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