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Sun Tzu Strategies


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Sun Tzu Strategies

  1. 1. TALLINNA TEHNIKAÜLIKOOL Majandusteaduskond Ärikorralduse instituut Organisatsiooni ja juhtimise õppetoolMaarit Kiinros, Rait Paalpere, Aleksandr Žigalov SUN TZU „THE ART OF WAR” Strategic Management Course Supervisor: Alar Kolk
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTSTABLE OF CONTENTS..................................................................................................21. INTRODUCTION.........................................................................................................32. SUN TZU „THE ART OF WAR”.................................................................................5 2.1 The Master...............................................................................................................5 2.2. The Book................................................................................................................8 2.3. The Text of The Art of War....................................................................................9 Key principles..........................................................................................................10 Chapters...................................................................................................................113. SUN TZU PRINCIPLES USED IN WARFARE........................................................13 3.1.Wu vs. Chu ...........................................................................................................13 3.2. The American Civil War......................................................................................14 3.3. World War II........................................................................................................16 3.4. Vietnam War.........................................................................................................19 3.5. The Cold War.......................................................................................................224. SUN TZU IN BUSINESS...........................................................................................23 4.1.Honor the cutsomer...............................................................................................23 4.2. Organization of intelligence and deception..........................................................24 4.3 WIN WITHOUT FIGHTING................................................................................26 4.4. Maintenance of the objective................................................................................27 4.5 Secure position. Avoid strength/attack weakness.................................................28 4.6 Attacking psychological weaknesses ....................................................................29 4.7. Speed and preparation .........................................................................................30 4.8. Shape your opponent............................................................................................31 4.9. Alliance.................................................................................................................31 4.10. Personal leadership.............................................................................................32CONCLUSION...............................................................................................................33BIBLIOGRAPHY...........................................................................................................34 2
  3. 3. 1. INTRODUCTIONSun Tzu: The Art of War is one of those rare texts that transcends time. Although it waswritten on the bamboo scrolls over 2,000 years ago, it is probably still the mostimportant work written on the strategy today. Author of book, Sun Wu, Chinese general of the State of Wu, has written it forthe military elite of his time. However, this appeared to be useful for everyone - fromthe fearless samurai in feudal Japan of the 21st Century intelligent entrepreneurs. The book even more fascinating than the background – it is full of the timelessprinciples of truth, the pragmatic and universal words applicable to almost any situation,to the the absolute victory. No less important, a person can learn how to avoid disaster. The text of this book was kept secret for ages, available only for the wealthykings and generals. It was brought to the West only in late 18th Century, onlytranslated into English for the first time in 1905. The book is not only popular with the military theorist, but it is also increasinglypopular among political leaders and those in business management. Despite its title, TheArt of War deals with the strategy in a broad, focusing on public administration andplanning. The text presents the theory of combat, but also acts of diplomacy andmaintaining relationships with other The purpose of this paper is to give an overview of the book „The Art Of War“,describe the author- Sun Tzu and introduce his main principles of strategy and war. Chapter three gives examples of Sun Tzu’s principles being used in war. Chapterfour is focused on Sun Tzu’s principles that can and are being used in business. 3
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  5. 5. 2. SUN TZU „THE ART OF WAR”Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ,there was a period in China known as theAge of Warring States. This was an age ofgreat conflict and uncertainty as seven statesfought for survival & control of China. Forthese states to win they sought out anymeans of gaining advantage over theiropponents; those with knowledge onstrategy & leadership was especially soughtafter. It was during this time that there arosea general from the state of Chi known asSun Tzu. His ability to win victories for hiswarlord gained him fame and power.(McNeilly)2.1 The MasterSun Tzu (pronounced SOON-zuh) means Master Sun. His first name was Wu.According to Ssu-ma Chiens Shih chi, also called the Records of the GrandHistorian, Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general during the Spring and Autumnperiod (722-481 BC). The Spring and Autumn Annals of Wu and Yueh confirmsthis account except it claims he originates from the state of Wu, not Chi. Mostscholars surmise he lived from 544 BC to 496 BC. ( Sun Tzu was a native of the Ch`i State. Sun Tzus father, Sun P`ing, rose to be aMinister of State in Ch`i, and Sun Tzu himself, whose style was Ch`ang-ch`ing, fled toWu on account of a rebellion. He wrote the ART OF WAR in thirteen chapters for HoLu, King of Wu and he was subsequently made a general by the king. He led an army 5
  6. 6. westwards, crushed the Ch`u state and entered Ying the capital. In the north, he keptCh`i and Chin in awe. His descendant, Sun Pin, born about a hundred years after hisfamous ancestors death, was also an outstanding military genius of his time. (Giles) Sun Tzu originally named Sun Wu and also called Chang Qing, authored TheArt of War in the sixth century BC. This military strategy book became one of the mostinfluential books of war and Sun Tzu became well known as not only a militarystrategist but also a realist in international relations theory. There are no exact records of Sun Tzus birth or death. The only known recordsof his life were from a biography written in the 2nd century BC by a historian namedSima Qian. Sun Tzu is believed to have been born in 544 BC under the name Sun Wu,possibly in the state of Qi in ancient China. His family were members of the shi, anancient class of landless aristocrats who lost their land during the Spring and AutumnPeriod of territorial consolidation. During Sun Tzus time, most shi travelled asacademic scholars, but Sun Tzu decided to work as a mercenary. Historically, there were two "Master Suns" involved with the military treatise.Sun Wu (544-496 BC) was the original author. His descendant, Sun Ping (or Bing)(380-316 BC), worked for the state of Ch’i and added to and popularized his ownversion of the work. The two are often confused. (Note: According to an e-mail, "MostChinese recent historians generally agree that he [Sun Wu] was born in around 536 BC.By 516, he was 18, recorded as Qing Chun which means still young.) ( After working throughout the country, the ruling king, King Helu of Wu, hiredSun Tzu as a general in 512 BC. Sun Tzu consequently authored The Art of War,which, at the time was named Sun Tzu based on the custom to name a work after itsauthor. Sun Tzus military strategy soon became legendary and he even proved hisknowledge by training battalions of previously untrained female soldiers. Sun Tzu gavecontrol of each battalion to King Helus concubines. After they disobeyed orders andlaughed at him, Sun Tzu executed two of the concubines, per military law, and finishedhis training with a powerful team with exceptional leadership skills. At the time of Sun Tzus generalship, the kingdom of Wu was considered asemi-barbaric state and incapable of military regulation or cultural power. After Sun 6
  7. 7. Tzu took control, however, the military in Wu went on to conquer the state of Chu, themost powerful state in the Spring and Autumn Period in Chinese history. After the defeat of Chu, Sun Tzu disappeared, wanting a quiet, peaceful life asopposed to one of constant conflict. His teachings, however, went on to influence notonly military strategies, but also martial arts in both armed and unarmed combat. In fact,his teaching known as Bing Fa became the basis for most Asian martial arts. Historians argue that Sun Tzus work did not advocate war but, instead, told ofstrategies to employ should conflict arise. In fact, according to historians, Sun Tzusphilosophies were more about how to avoid war while still maintaining control over anenemy in tight situations rather than war itself. Sun Tzu had a dramatic impact on Chinese history. After his hiring, the kingdomof Wu went on to become the most powerful state of the period. Sun Tzu supposedly died when King Helu was killed in 496 BC, but since themilitary success of Wu continued after that year, stories of his death may have beenexaggerated for political reasons. Sun Tzu teaches that the first principle of war isdeception. ( Although there are no confirmations that the two met, Sun Tzu lived during thetime of Confucius and may have been influenced by the mans work. ( 7
  8. 8. 2.2. The BookTo hand down the wisdom he had gainedfrom his years of battles Sun Tzu wrotea book, The Art of War, that became theclassic work on strategy in China. Hisbook, which details a completephilosophy on how to decisively defeatones opponent, has given guidance tomilitary theorists and generalsthroughout the ages. In The Art of War,military readers found a holisticapproach to strategy that was powerfuland deep - it is truly a masterpiece onstrategy.Today, Sun Tzus appeal has extendedbeyond the military realm into the worldof business. Because business bydefinition deals with competition, SunTzus principles are ideally suited tocompetitive business situations. Becausebusiness, like warfare, is a contest ofwills, dynamic and fast-paced, based onboth morale and machines, and dealswith the effective and efficient use ofscarce resources, many business people Allikas: Science of Strategy Institute,across the globe have found value in Sun Seattle, WA, USA http://scienceofstrategy.orgTzus teachings. (McNeilly) 8
  9. 9. 2.3. The Text of The Art of WarThe text was preserved in China forover 2,000 years. Versions are stillbeing found in royal Chinese tombsunearthed today. Those version areremarkably similar to the text wehave always known. The text wasbrought to the West by the French. Itis rumored that Napoleon used itsstrategy to conquer Europe. It hasgone through many Englishtranslations from a variety of sources.In ChinaChina preserved the text of The Art of War, known in Chinese as the Bing-Fa, eventhrough the famous book-burning by the first Emperor of Chi around 200 BC. The textwas treasured and passed down by the Empires various rulers. Sections of the work have been found in a number of archeological digs uncovering the ancient rulers of China. New versions are still being found. In the Chinese-speaking world, there were two main textual traditions, known as the and versions, in circulation into the twentieth century. Today, what we call The Art of War is the basic work of the original Master Sun, Sun Wu, though many related works were made by later scholars, including his descendant, Sun Ping. 9
  10. 10. Brought to the WestA Jesuit missionary, Father Amiot, first brought The Art of War to the West, translatingit into French in 1782.Soon after its publication in France, it was discovered by a minor French militaryofficer. After studying it, this officer rose to the head of the revolutionary French armyin a surprising series of victories. The legend is that Napoleon used the work as the keyto his victories in conquering all of Europe. It is said that he carried the little work withhim everywhere but kept its contents secret (which would be very much in keeping withSun Tzus theories).However, Napoleon must have started believing his own reviews instead of stickingwith his study of Sun Tzu. His defeat at Waterloo was clearly a case of fighting on abattleground that the enemy, Wellington, knew best. Wellingtons "trick" at Waterloowas hiding his forces by having them lie down in the slight hollows of this hilly land.This is exactly the type of tactic Sun Tzu warns against in his discussion of terraintactics. (Reilly)Key principles • Know your enemies and know yourself • To win 100 battles is not the height of skill, to subdue the enemy without fighting is • Avoid what is strong, attack what is weak 10
  11. 11. Chapters 1. Laying Plans/The Calculations explores the five fundamental factors (the Way, seasons, terrain, leadership, and management) and seven elements that define a successful outcome. By thinking, assessing and comparing these points you can calculate a victory, deviation from them will ensure failure. Remember that war is a very grave matter of state. 2. Waging War/The Challenge explains how to understand the economy of war and how success requires making the winning play, which in turn, requires limiting the cost of competition and conflict. 3. Attack by Stratagem/The Plan of Attack defines the source of strength as unity, not size, and the five ingredients that you need to succeed in any war. In order of importance: Attack, Strategy, Alliances, Army, lastly Cities. 4. Tactical Dispositions/Positioning explains the importance of defending existing positions until you can advance them and how you must recognize opportunities, not try to create them. 5. Energy/Directing explains the use of creativity and timing in building your momentum. 6. Weak Points & Strong/Illusion and Reality explains how your opportunities come from the openings in the environment caused by the relative weakness of your enemy in a given area. 7. Maneuvering/Engaging The Force explains the dangers of direct conflict and how to win those confrontations when they are forced upon you. 8. Variation in Tactics/The Nine Variations focuses on the need for flexibility in your responses. It explains how to respond to shifting circumstances successfully. 9. The Army on the March/Moving The Force describes the different situations in them. 10. Terrain/Situational Positioning 11. The Nine Situations/Nine Terrains 12. The Attack by Fire/Fiery Attack explains the use of weapons generally and the use of the environment as a weapon specifically. It examines the five targets 11
  12. 12. for attack, the five types of environmental attack, and the appropriate responses to such attack. 13. The Use of Spies/The Use of Intelligence focuses on the importance of developing good information sources, specifically the five types of sources and how to manage them.( 12
  13. 13. 3. SUN TZU PRINCIPLES USED IN WARFAREThis following section gives an overview of some of Sun Tzu’s principles used inwarfare throughout history. From the battles between Chinese states of Wu and Chu inwhich Sun Tzu himself took part; to World War II and Cold war between east and west.Most of the material used in this section was obtained from History Channel’sdocumentary “Sun Tzu - the art of war”.3.1.Wu vs. ChuSun Tzu was the commander of the Chinese state Wu and trained its army to defend itself from a power state of Chu to the west. The outset of that war between Wu and Chu,when Sun Tzu was given command of the army of Wu, it seemed that Chu holds all theadvantages. Sun Tzu had an army of 33,000 and Chu hundreds of thousands of men. Outnumbered ten to one, Sun Tzu could prepare its defenses and waited for theChu onslaught, but being Sun Tzu he does the unexpected- he invades Chu. He did notattack Chu head on; he chose soft targets, like remote outposts and border crossings. Heattacked with speed and brutal efficiency. Chu immediately launched counteroffensives, but when the reinforcements arrive Sun Tzu’s soldiers are gone attackingother objectives. He frustrated the leaders of Chu and gained a better picture of how theChu army is likely to fight. He downplays the value of direct attack and puts theemphasis on maneuver, surprise, deception. Sun Tzu’s strategy was similar to a Chinese game called go. The game startswith the game board empty and as few pieces as possible are used to acquire as muchterritory as one can. The objective is not the destruction of opponents force but theconquest of space. Therefore it’s a very resource efficient strategy. Using a go-likestrategy ST decided when and where he fights. He awards the strongest and attacks theweakest parts. 13
  14. 14. “To move your enemy, entice him with something he is certain to take”It means to control your enemy’s movement by your own movement.“Put the army in the face of death where there is no escape and they will not flee or be afraid-there is nothing they cannot achieve”Among other things, ST studied the psychology of soldiers facing imminent deathWhen soldiers know that they are on death ground they transform to fearless fightersand will fight with all they have in order to win. Death ground was exactly where STwanted his men to be.3.2. The American Civil WarThe American Civil War (1861–1865), also known as the War Between the States(among other names), was a civil war in the United States of America. Eleven Southernslave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the ConfederateStates of America, also known as "the Confederacy." Led by Jefferson Davis, theConfederacy fought against the United States (the Union), which was supported by allthe free states (where slavery had been abolished) and by five slave states that becameknown as the border states(Wikipedia) America’s Civil War of 1861-1865, though it succeeded in holding the union ofAmerican states together, demonstrated a progression into all the war-fighting methodsSun Tzu said to avoid. Sun Tzu said (Cantrell 2003, 11). “Thus the highest form of generalship is to defeat the enemy’s plans;” In 1861, Abraham Lincoln, the newly elected President of the United States,could not find a way to peacefully defeat the secessionist plans of Jefferson Davis, thePresident of the Confederate States of America. When Confederate forces shelled FortSumter in Charleston Harbor, they sealed Lincoln’s failure (Ibid,11). 14
  15. 15. “...the next best is to keep the enemy’s forces divided;” From 1861 through 1863, Lincoln attempted to divide the Confederacy by takingcontrol of the Mississippi River. At the same time, he made no fewer than threeattempts to march on the Confederate Capital in Richmond, Virginia. Lincoln failed inpart because Confederate officers, like Gen. Robert E. Lee, outclassed their Unioncounterparts on the battlefield. “...the next best is to attack the enemy’s army in the field;” In 1864, Lincoln assigned Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, a general who had earliersucceeded in capturing the key control city on the Mississippi, Vicksburg, to targetLee’s Army of Northern Virginia itself instead of Richmond. Grant sent Gen. WilliamT. Sherman down through the west to continue with the plan to divide the Confederacy.To Gen. George G. Meade of the Army of the Potomac, who Grant sent to destroy Lee’sarmy in Virginia, Grant commanded: “Wherever Lee goes, there you will goalso.”(Ibid,11-12). “...and the worst policy is to besiege walled cities”After a bloody series of battles that failed to destroy Lee’s army, Grant laid siege toLee’s army in the fortified city of Petersburg from the summer of 1864 to the spring of1865. His need to lay siege meant adding 10 months to an effort that was taking some200,000 casualties to whittle Lee’s army from 60,000 soldiers at the beginning of 1864to fewer than 10,000 by its surrender in 1865. Sherman’s advances in the meantimedestroyed vital Confederate cities south of Richmond and Petersburg, plus much of theregion’s railways and infrastructure. Though the war reunited the nation, the southarguably required more than one hundred years to recover from the method. The American Civil War ended with America intact but with the south in ruin. Itbecame a precursor of total wars to come that would see the devastation of fightingescalate sharply (Cantrell 2003,12). 15
  16. 16. 3.3. World War IIWorld War I became the devastation of armies, and World War II became a totaldevastation of great cities and populations as well. Militarily, the great nations ofEurope, both the winners and the losers, became a shadow of their former selves on theworld stage and so relinquished the title of world superpowers to the United States andthe Soviet Union. Errors on both sides – Allied weakness that allowed Axis forces toconquer Europe and the Asian Pacific with little loss to themselves, and Axismiscalculations regarding their ability to hold their gains for the long term – resulted inmore death and destruction by war than the world has yet seen. This final result was notin accord with the Way of life and therefore not in accord with the principles of Sun Tzu(Cantrell 2003,12). A proper assessment of a situation is a critical part of Sun Tzu’s overallphilosophy that ensures an army engages in battles it can win. Engaging in battles youcannot win is waste of time and resources and not in accord with the Way of life (Ibid) The invasion of Normandy was the invasion and establishment of Allied forcesin Normandy, France, during Operation Overlord in World War II. The invasion wasthe largest amphibious operation in history. Allied land forces that saw combat in Normandy on 6 June came from Canada,the Free French Forces, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In the weeksfollowing the invasion, Polish forces also participated, as well as contingents fromBelgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, and the Netherlands (Williams 1988). Most of theabove countries also provided air and naval support, as did the Royal Australian AirForce, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the Royal Norwegian Navy. June 6. 1944 allied troops in World War II invade Europe. They land on thebeaches of Normandy France. If you put troops on a beach on which there is no retreatthen they will fight in order to survive. There was no other alternative than death (andswimming back to England). By fighting together and never giving up they survived. “All warfare is deception” 16
  17. 17. If you can deceive your enemy before battle you are more likely to win. Supreme alliedcommander Dwight D. Eisenhower took this principle to heart as he prepares to invadeEurope in World War II. His invasion strategy in Normandy is one of the most daring inhistory and is foreshadowed in ST art of war. By 1944 Nazi Germany knew the allies were coming, but they did not knowwhere or when. The buildup in England was most likely; therefore the most likely placethey would hit was France. The only question was where? There were only three feasible locations where the allies could land: Pas deCalais, Cherbourg peninsula or the Normandy beaches. One was for sure- the allieswould only attack locations that they could provide air support to. The range of alliedair fighters was 400 miles, therefore any landing sight would have been 200 miles fromthe attack location. Even with air support the allies know that beach invasion of Europeis nearly impossible. To succeed they must employ more of a GO-strategy than a chessstrategy. Instead of a direct attack, the allies follow ST principle of deception andconvinced the Germans that the attack would not occur at Normandy. What the allieswere able to do with the clever use of deception as well as with clear military logic wasto convince the Germans when it came it would come from Pas de Calais and when infact they were coming from Normandy. It was called operation Fortitude and was one ofthe most complex deception campaigns ever attempted. The allies create a fake armythat appears to strike Pas de Calais with inflatable tanks and planes, truck to foolGermans. The phantom army needed to be seen and heard so allied army personnelbroadcast hours of fake transmissions about supply movements. Eisenhower shows theGermans his fake army but keeps his real fighting force in absolute secret. For weeksthey were successful in their deception campaign but one month before the D-daycampaign was set to begin the allies feared their secret is out. “The way a wise general can achieve greatness beyond ordinary men is through foreknowledge”ST teaches the importance of deception and foreknowledge to uncover the enemy’sintentions. The allies gained foreknowledge by breaking German codes. For years theGermans believed their coding machine called Enigma is completely unbreakable, but 17
  18. 18. with the help of a polish mathematician the British are able to break German codeswithin hours. Their code breaking system is called Ultra. Through ultra, the Britishknew what the Germans are thinking, what their perceptions are of the battle field. Thusthey are able to feed German spies information that reinforces those misconceptions. Inorder to win your enemy, you must be able to read the mind of your enemy. The allies also benefitted from another ST principle: the poor judgment of theirenemy’s leader. “It is essential for victory that general are unconstrained by their leaders”The allied command structure gave total authority to Gen. Eisenhower as supremecommander of all forces on the western front. Beneath him are four commanders: onefor the navy, air force, US army group and the British army group. In the business worldthis would be a very clear organizational chart with well defined responsibilities. Onewould expect that a dictator like Hitler to have an even more efficient chain ofcommand than the allies but it was just the opposite. Hitler set up an confusing of overlapping in the authority. No one beneath him had all of the information and all of thecontrol over forces at their disposal. Hitler was always the one who made the finaldecision. He was always interfering in the decisions of his subordinates, the generals.Hitler failure is a perfect example of why ST says the enlightened general must be freeto conduct war without the interference of the leader.Through out the Normandy invasion ST invisible hand guided the Allies to victory.Through the use of deception, foreknowledge and a superior command structure thatmotivates the entire army to fight as one.“Put the army in the face of death where there is no escape and they will not flee or be afraid-there is nothing they cannot achieve” Among other things, Sun Tzu studied the psychology of soldiers facingimminent death. When soldiers know that they are on death ground they transform tofearless fighters and will fight with all they have in order to win. This was clearly seenin Normandy and death ground was exactly where Sun Tzu wanted his men to be. 18
  19. 19. 3.4. Vietnam WarThe Vietnam War was a Cold War military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos,and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This warfollowed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported byits communist allies, and the government of South Vietnam, supported by the US andother anti-communist nations( Vietnam War, Wikipedia) The Viet Cong, a lightly armed South Vietnamese communist-controlledcommon front, largely fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in theregion. The Vietnam Peoples Army (North Vietnamese Army) engaged in a moreconventional war, at times committing large units into battle. U.S. and SouthVietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conductsearch and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery and airstrikes. The US government viewed involvement in the war as a way to prevent acommunist takeover of South Vietnam and part of their wider strategy of containment.The North Vietnamese government viewed the war as a colonial war, fought initiallyagainst France, backed by the US, and later against South Vietnam, which it regarded asa US puppet state (Wikipedia). “It is more important to outthink your enemy than outfight your enemy”It was was tactics and strategy not firepower that caused the US to ultimately lose thewar in Vietnam- a loss that Sun Tzu predicted thousands of years ago. “In wars, numbers alone confer no advantage. Do not advance relying on sheer military power”In 1960 US general W.W. Moreland orders intense aerial bombardments. The USeventually dropped over seven million tons of bombs into Indochina during the warmore than twice the tonnage of all the bombs dropped by the US in WWII. But theAmerican were about to learn Sun Tzu’s lesson the hard way, that despite theoverwhelming military power and its soldiers, the US could not win this war. Gen. WesMoreland used a chess-inspired strategy stop the communist spread by killing as many 19
  20. 20. North Vietnamese and Vietcong’s as possible. Conversely, Wes Moreland’s adversary,the North Vietnamese Gen. Giap uses more of a Sun Tzu go-strategy (see Wu vs. Chu).While one concentrated more on killing as many possible, the other one on winningmore territory and thus defeat the enemy. To combat the American bombardments Gen.Giap looks to a key Sun Tzu principle: “Know your enemy and know yourself and in 100 battles you will never be in peril”The way Americans often acted was somewhat predictable, they would prepare alanding zone through artillery strikes and air strikes and then bring the troops in. Giaprecognized this and realized if he could have his troops survive the airstrikes they couldthen ambush the American troops and take them off. The American bombs didn’t destroy the enemy; they merely telegraphed that theUS infantry is on its way. Giap also ordered its fighters to stay as close to Americansoldiers as possible. He understood the danger of air attacks and by having his men nearthe Americans, he knew that Americans would not call in the strike. You close with theenemy; you intermingle so they can’t bring air support without hurting their own troops.Guerilla attacks, ambushes, hand grenade traps and snipers in this case where highlyeffective. By forcing the enemy to maneuver, to respond to you, he reveals strengthsand weaknesses, and the more you know its strengths and weaknesses, the more you canexploit the weaknesses and avoid the strengths. The major US weakness in that war was not on the battlefield. It was theAmerican people. Giap knew that by turning the American people against the war hecould defeat the overpowering US military. He did not try to defeat them in Vietnam,but in US. In the beginning of the war, nearly 80% of Americans supported the war inVietnam. Moreland ordered an operation called Seek and Destroy to cope with Giap’sguerilla attacks. He believed that he was successfully out rooting Vietcong insurgentsbut a Pentagon report showed that 80% of the incidents where leaded by the insurgents.Meaning that Americans where not searching and destroying anything. If the enemy didnot want to fight they stayed in the “bushes” and when they wanted to fight they pickedthe time and place. 20
  21. 21. Giaps guerilla tactics where working but his Sun Tzu inspired strategy issuddenly overruled by his commanding officers. He is ordered to plan a full scale directoffensive against the US forces. Giap knew that it was suicide. Instead he modified theplan. Returning to ST principles, he decides to coordinate a simultaneous attack inhundreds of locations across South Vietnam. It turned out a powerful turning point ofthe war. “Let you plans be as dark as night-Then strike like a thunderbolt”Just like Sun Tzu, Giap used spies. He created a spy network. Every barman, taxidriver- anyone who dealt with Americans was potentially a source for the Vietcong.Overhearing what Americans were talking, what the soldiers told to prostitutesetc.Collecting this information able them to predict the movement of American units.As a result it showed that Americans did not surprise anybody. Insurgents knew it allthe time. To surprise Americans, Giap needed his men to be sufficiently armed. Giapsnext challenge was to figure out how to smuggle in and hide thousands of weaponsthrough out Vietnam. The solution was all ST - deception and secrecy: Giap goesunderground.They had well equipped tunnels, some even under the US base camps and some evenexceeding 100 km in length. “In a battle use a direct attack to engage and an indirect attack to win”In the art of war you should always try to deceive your enemy. Pick a place you want toattack, then attack somewhere else to divert its attentions. While his distracted, captureyour real objective. A week before the TET offensive, Giap launches a surprise attack on remote USbase in Khe Sanh. The US is determined not to lose Khe Sanh. Nevertheless Khe Sanhis not Giaps real objective, it is a ploy to draw US attention from the cities before TET. January 31, 1968 while New Year celebrations the attack is carried out. Morethan 80,000 Vietcong troops carry out simultaneous individual attacks on more than a 21
  22. 22. hundred cities, villages and US bases all across South Vietnam the TET offensive hadbegun. South Vietnamese and Americans were shocked and surprised, they thought theyhad their enemy on his last legs. The TET offensive looked like it might succeed but theNorth has ignored one important ST rule, at will cost them. According to ST there arefive fundamental factors for success in war: “Weather, terrain, leadership, militarydoctrine and most importantly - moral influence”. But the North Vietnamese failed atmoral influence. Meaning that a leader must have the will of people behind him,otherwise the war will ultimately fail. North Vietnamese carried blacklists and killed alot of opposing South Vietnamese, even nuns. That brutality backfired. Vietnamesepeople realized that they do not want to live under that kind of leadership. Without thewill of the people Giaps forces are left without reinforcements. The fragmented NorthVietnamese weakened; over 10,000 got killed in the first few days, when only 250Americans died. But the moral influence cuts both ways. US popular support for thewar eroded when people saw scenes from Vietnam. Despite losing the battle, Giaps waswell on his way of winning the war by defeating The US where it matters most- athome.3.5. The Cold WarFrom 1945 to 1990, the United States and its allies fought a Cold War against the SovietUnion and its allies. This war threatened to become the most devastating Hot Warimaginable. The United States and its allies won the Cold War with little bloodshed,particularly when compared to the preceding global conflict, World War II. The UnitedStates and its allies maintained a sufficiently strong conventional military force to deterSoviet aggression and supplemented that force with nuclear weapons. The victorsindirectly won the Cold War economically. The Soviet Union collapsed on itselfwithout a direct military attack by the United States and his allies. Economies underSoviet-style communism could not afford to pay for the enormous militaries arrayedagainst the West. Bottom line: the Cold War ended and the world stayed whole(Cantrell 2003, 12). 22
  23. 23. 4. SUN TZU IN BUSINESSSun Tzu provides many insights about the most basic nature of strategy analysis,formulation, and implementation. Sun Tzu actually never used the term “strategy”(Bamford and West 2009, 19)." Sun Tzus approach is holistic, integrated, andsynergistic, with each principle interlocked with the others to form a sum greater thanits parts. Think of them as the cords in a very strong rope; separate from one anotherthey may be strong, but woven together they become unbreakable. (McNeilly 1996, 22) There are many principles of Sun Tzu that can be used for winning the war ofcompetition. We are going to discuss these principles and how they apply in the realworld of business. The following thesis gives an overview of a systematic way ofcreating winning strategies based on the timeless ideas of Sun Tzu. While there is muchthat businesses can learn from military strategy and examples, businesspeople shouldnot follow the philosophy of the destruction created by total war. Business must beperformed ethically. (McNeilly 1996, 8)4.1.Honor the cutsomerOne of the principles says that you should honor the customer. If the customer does notpurchase your product or service, nothing else matters. Strategically this means thathonoring the customer aims at building a lifelong relationship. Tactically it aims atsatisfaction with every interaction. (G. Michaelson and S. Michaelson 2004, 6) Sun Tzu’s customers where the people – the citizens of the empire. In marketing,people are our customers, and our customers are king – we serve at their pleasure. Everyaspect of marketing should focus on the customer. He or she is the judge and jury of ourmarketing and our business. The ultimate objective of marketing is to produce productsand services that not only satisfy the customer’s needs, but delight them, so they wouldreturn and buy again. (G. Michaelson and S. Michaelson 2004, 6). In all business 23
  24. 24. situations, the emphasis is on building and maintaining a long-term relationship with thecustomer. The key issue is to establish a relationship that builds repeat business.(Strategies for Selling, Michaelsons, lk 4) If you are loyal in serving their needs, theywill be loyal to you. Ask your customer about his or her priorities, and then prioritize your actionsaccording to your customer’s needs. Doing so you will increase your chances tosucceed.Sun Tzu says that you must know what you are fighting for or else there is no sensefighting. Knowing what your customers need and want gives you the chance to makeyour moves according to this. (G. Michaelson and S. Michaelson 2004, 6)4.2. Organization of intelligence and deceptionSun Tzu says: “Know the enemy and know yourself, and your victory will never beendangered; know the weather and know the ground, and your victory will be thencomplete”. To know your market as well as you knows yourself - you have to make athorough assessment. (G. Michaelson and S. Michaelson 2004, 19) Successful strategy needs good information. Good information is a product ofgood intelligence. The solution of processing information is decentralization: you breakthe problem down and have decisions made by people at each level instead of sendingall the information to the top, where it will overload the head persons’ brain. Accurateinformation is the bedrock of the road to business success. First, you decide who youwant your customers to be. Then, you decide what these customers need and want. Youfigure out which of these needs you can meet, and you do it better than anyone else.Much of what you want to know is readily available or can be uncovered by listening toyour customers. (G. Michaelson and S. Michaelson 2004, 17) There are five assessment factors in modern marketing management. First of allgreat strategies should have a strong moral foundation. A complete understanding ofthe nature of the competitive market place is the first step in a winning campaign. Adeep understanding of the mindset of your competitors and how they might react tovarious new moves enables you to anticipate competitive challenges. (Bamford andWest 2009, 19) 24
  25. 25. Every marketing plan must consider the influence of outside forces, such aseconomic conditions, government regulations, political circumstances, and theenvironment. Eight P’s: planning, people, positioning, products, promotion, personalselling, persuasion and price should be considered. Sun Tzu states the importance ofwisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness. The same personal qualitiesare important today. (G. Michaelson and S. Michaelson 2004, 19 Deception means to find the weaknesses of your competitor and keep yourcompetitor from discovering yours. Foreknowledge is firsthand insight and a deepunderstanding of what your competitor is about: its strengths, its weaknesses, its plans,its people. To understand and defeat your competition, you must do a very deep level ofresearch and analysis. It must not lack for detail. Because of lack of funding, lack ofinterest or lack of skills, the competitive analysis arm of a company will often do only askin-deep review of the competition. Another reason some firms may not perform agood job of competitive analysis is that they feel it is somehow unfair or unethical.(McNeilly 1996, 40) Companies make the same mistake. They attack markets they know little about.They take on new competitors without learning their strengths, weaknesses, andcapabilities. To beat the competition, you must know your competition, know your owncompany, and know your marketplace. You need to know your competitors financialresults, the products of the company, its annual and quarterly reports, its advertising,and announcements. Also, look closely at your competitors past behavior. You mustlearn as much as possible about the culture of your competitor and the mindset andassumptions of those who run it. (McNeilly 1996, 22). You must know what the enemyhas in store for you, or what the enemy has accomplished against you up to this point.You must learn to spot signs of trouble early. (Austin 2009, lk 7) Foreknowledge does not stop at knowing your competition. You must also knowyour own companys strengths and weaknesses. You need to understand a broad array ofthings about your company: who your customers are and why they buy your product,what your costs are, which offerings are the most profitable and which the least, whatyour critical processes are, the length of your cycle times, and who your essentialmanagers and employees are. You must know this information in detail and have accessto it on a real-time basis. (McNeilly 1996, 47) 25
  26. 26. In addition to knowing the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and yourcompetitor, you must also know the "terrain" on which you will be fighting, thebusiness environment in which you will operate. To know the business terrain, you needto perform in-depth market research and analysis. You must know the size of themarkets you wish to battle over, how fast they are growing, and the industry forces ineach market. (McNeilly 1996, 49) The other side of the equation is ensuring that your competition is unable toknow you. This is where deception comes in. To beat your competitor, you must firstdeceive its executives about the true nature of your plans. If they do not know whereyou will attack next, they will be confused and unable to respond effectively. Deceptionnot only allows you to force your competitor to waste resources by allocating themincorrectly, it also creates weak spots to attack. (McNeilly 1996, 52) When asked about the strengths of your company do not list them all or telleveryone how you do things. You may as well give away your products or services forfree! Instead, be opaque about the workings of your firm and hide the secrets of yoursuccess. (McNeilly 1996, 54)4.3 WIN WITHOUT FIGHTINGThe realization that preparation, understanding and deep commitment to excellenceallows one to anticipate and preempt competition. An organization that it focused on itsbusiness, that is constantly refining and improving its ability to compete with attentionto the finer details, and one that is one the cutting edge of best practices in itscompetitive arena may prevent others from attempting to compete. Therefore victory isdefined as never having to enter battle. An evaluation of the resources and capabilitiesof your organization will point out the best ways to compete and win. (Bamford andWest 2009, 19) While market share and industry dominance are your end goal, they should notbe pursued blindly. In a business context, this means your battles for market dominanceshould not destroy the profitability of your industry in the process. In strategy, as inlife, you make your decisions, and then they make you. (McNeilly 1996, 12) 26
  27. 27. You should seek to control the most market territory with the smallestinvestment, not to destroy your competitor and your company in endless fighting. Youwill win by avoiding fighting and moving strategically to achieve relative marketdominance, survival, and prosperity. This approach leaves your industry intact, allowingyour firm to dominate a healthy industry rather than a sick one. (McNeilly 1996, 17) Research of competitive industries has shown that subtle, indirect, less visibleattacks are much less likely to prompt a competitive response. For example, someattacks were not responded to for up to four years. (McNeilly 1996, 18) Clearly, if you hope to win all without fighting, you must utilize strategy andtactics that enable you to gain share prosperously, without destroying your industry. Theessence of fighting is not fighting. (McNeilly 1996, 18)4.4. Maintenance of the objectiveYou must have a clear attention and a steady aim. Strategically you must have anobjective that provides one main direction. Tactically the objective is a specific goal. Some strategists say that the objective is the most important principle becausewithout an objective, all of the other principles are pointless. The business objectivemust be clearly defined, decisive, and attainable. Actions must be clearlycommunicated, and results must be measurable. The objective should be stated inspecific terms that are measurable. The statement of the objective should be targetedtoward a goal that is strategically and tactically meaningful. Focus should be onobjectives that make a difference. (G. Michaelson and S. Michaelson 2004, 41) Objectives that are impossible can demoralize. Conversely, objectives that aretoo easy to attain are useless. The statement of the objective should allow theorganization to choose side roads, as long as they do not lead to a dead end. The reasonyou have an objective is to clarify where you are going so you can get everyonemarching in the same direction. Everyone has to know the high-level game plan andwhere they fit in (McNeilly 1996, 137). (G. Michaelson and S. Michaelson 2004, 41) Sun Tzu offers this advice: You must define the markets you are going after andcommit to achieving relative market dominance in those markets. By doing so, yourcompany will ensure its survival and prosperity. There are many examples of companies 27
  28. 28. that began as seedlings, but used creative strategy to bring value to the marketplace,grow quickly, and continue doing business successfully for a number of years. They hadto be able to gain a position in their industry or niche that enabled them to protectthemselves and shape the forces in their industry in their favor. (McNeilly 1996, 10)4.5 Secure position. Avoid strength/attack weaknessAvoiding strength and attacking weakness maximizes your gains while minimizing theuse of your resources. This, by definition, increases profits. To find and exploit yourcompetitors weakness requires a deep understanding of their executives strategy,capabilities, thoughts, and desires. (McNeilly 1996, 19) A direct attack is one that occurs in an expected place at an expected time. Anindirect assault is one that comes as a surprise, both in location and timing. Bycombining direct attacks on your competitor to fix their executives attention anddeceive them, you can then use indirect attacks to win complete victory. (McNeilly1996, 21) You should occupy a position that can not easily be taken by your opponents andstrengthen your core competencies. The leaders must take up a strong position, inspireothers to follow him. Strategically this means that a secure position establishes the basisfor an offensive. Tactically - a secure position helps you make use of your naturalstrength. (G. Michaelson and S. Michaelson 2004, 69) Avoid strength and attack weakness is the key to achieving that goal. Byfocusing your companys resources against your competitors critical weak point, youachieve success. Attacking your competitors weak points is a much more effective anduses less resources than attacking its strength. Attacking strength wastes resources. Insum, avoiding strength and attacking weakness achieves the maximum return for theleast expenditure of resources in the shortest possible time, thereby maximizing profits.(McNeilly 1996, 24) You only need to imitate the best practices of your competitors and you canbecome the market leader. This strategy of competitive imitation leads many executivesto attack strong competitors at their strongest point. (McNeilly 1996, 26) 28
  29. 29. Even if you have several times the resources of your competitor and a verystrong will, your probability of winning the battle is still low if you attack yourcompetitors strength. You may have "defeated" your competitor, but paid a high cost inresources. Even if you are now aware of other opportunities, the resources may nolonger exist to pursue them. (McNeilly 1996, 27) One way is to attack the weakest part of your competitors value chain. If theyare strong in manufacturing but have a weak tie to their distributors, attack them there.Reinforce your distribution channels to take their customers away. Better yet, woo awaytheir distributors and make them your own. Without them, their manufacturing processwill prove worthless. (McNeilly 1996, 28)4.6 Attacking psychological weaknessesFor your attacks to be successful, they do not necessarily have to be physical. They canalso be psychological, directed at and focused on the mind of your competitor.(McNeilly 1996, 34) This is the least resource-intensive means of attacking a competitor. It requireslittle investment, yet it can be a very effective technique if properly executed. That iswhy Sun Tzu is adamant that "the supreme excellence in war is to attack an enemysplans. (McNeilly 1996, 35) Obviously, the best weakness to attack would be one that not only is extremelyvulnerable but, if attacked successfully, would be especially damaging to yourcompetition. You must concentrate your efforts physically in time and space. (McNeilly1996, 35) Surprise is the best way to gain psychological dominance and deny the initiativeto your opponent. Your opponent will not know neither where to attack or defend. (G.Michaelson and S. Michaelson 2004, 69) At this point, you may be thinking that Sun Tzus philosophy means that oneshould not make the effort to improve those parts of your own organization that areweak or failing. This is not the case. Competition is a relative concept. (McNeilly 1996,37) 29
  30. 30. However, the majority of your resources must be concentrated to build strengththat can be used against your competitors weak point. Being strong everywhere is to bestrong nowhere. (McNeilly 1996, 37) As a strategist, it is critical not only that you determine where weakness existsand attack there, but also that you have the personal fortitude to avoid attacking whenthe situation has changed.(McNeilly 1996, 37)4.7. Speed and preparationSpeed in execution is essential for a number of reasons; speed is a substitute forresources, it shocks and surprises your competitors, it is critical to exploitingweaknesses and opportunities. Greater speed equals fewer resources, which in turnequals better return on investment. (McNeilly 1996, 59) If you wish to act with speed, you must focus on improving yourinformation/decision/action cycle time. You must not only be able to deal with a fast-changing business environment, you must desire it, thrive on it and nourish it.(McNeilly 1996, 70) Therefore, the key is to understand which issues must be decided immediately,to limit the information to only those pieces that have a direct bearing on those issues.The speed with which your company fixes customer satisfaction problems should beimproved. Companies must have a corporate culture and measurement system thatensures that management and employees focus on customer satisfaction is critical.(McNeilly 1996, 74) In addition to basic strategic planning you must also do war gaming and scenarioplanning. All moves should be played out and critiqued, it should be clear which moveshave the best potential and which are most likely candidates for the strategy trash can.(McNeilly 1996, 80) To be innovative and creative, your company must encourage organizationallearning. It too must be willing to consider new ideas, trust its junior managers, fosterprofessional education, promote the sharing of ideas across organizational boundaries, 30
  31. 31. and keep people in jobs long enough so that they actually know what theyre doing.(McNeilly 1996, 87)4.8. Shape your opponentTo defeat the competition, you must first make them conform to your strategy, yourrules, your will. You must seize the advantage and make your competitor meet you atthe time and place of your choosing. To shape the competition, you must also gain andhold strategic positions in the marketplace, using technology, key buyers, anddistribution channels to deny competitors access to key markets. You can lead yourcompetitors to enter market so that they will prove unprofitable or directing them awayfrom markets you desire. Another way to shape your opponents moves is to hold astrategic position in the industry. (McNeilly 1996, 90) A final consideration in shaping the competition is to consider leaving yourcompetitor an easy way out of the market to avoid fighting over it with you. To increaseyour probability of success, you must prevent your competition from combining tooppose you. This can be done by forcing them to consider the consequences of opposingyou. (McNeilly 1996, 102)4.9. AllianceThe rule of alliances is, if you are faced with a competitor that has strong allies, youmust avoid attacking them. Before launching an attack, you should find ways toseparate your competitor from its allies. You may consider making allies of formercompetitors. Once you have created an alliance, you must make skillful use of yourallies. Choosing the right allies is only the beginning; you must also know how tomaintain your alliances and how to end them when they are no long useful. (McNeilly1996, 107) An alliance works when there is trust between the allies, true cooperation,perceived fairness, and, most important, a mutual interest. It is the mutual interest thatshould be the seed of the alliance. (McNeilly 1996, 107) 31
  32. 32. 4.10. Personal leadershipSun Tzu says that if words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are notthoroughly understood the general is to blame. But if orders are clear, and the soldiersnevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers. Personal leadership requiresthe leader’s faith in his or her people and their faith in the leader’s ability to win.In order to be a successful leader you should:• Build your character, not just your image• Lead with actions, not just words.• Share employees trials, not just their triumphs.• Motivate emotionally, not just materially.• Assign clearly defined missions to all, avoiding mission overlap and confusion.• Make your strategy drive your organization, not the reverse."Leadership is the ability to get men to do what they dont want to do and like it" - Harry S. Truman 32
  33. 33. CONCLUSIONSun Tzu: The Art of War is one of those rare texts that transcends time. Although it waswritten on the bamboo scrolls some 2500 years ago, it is probably still the mostimportant work written on the strategy today. Sun Tzu “The Art of War” provides strategies easily applicable to both war andbusiness situations. If you follow his principles you will be victorious, if you ignore himyou will definitely lose. Fighting costs lives and money. Sun Tzu prizes the general whocan outwit, instead of outfight is opponent. ”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.“ Although Sun Tzu was anarmy commander he did not always support fighting. Mainly because war costs moneyand lives, therefore waging war had to be the last resort or with as little bloodshed aspossible. Although advocating diplomacy at first, he also gave instructions on how towin battles. In war, the most important thing is to know your enemy and know your self,most importantly strengths and weaknesses. Avoid the strengths, attack the weaknesses. In business Honoring the customer builds a lifelong relationship which satisfiesboth the customer and the company. It is vital to know your market, customers,competitors and yourself. Studying strengths, opportunities, threats and weaknessesgives you the opportunity to beat your competitor. The core beliefs and values of theleaders form the culture of the organization and the organization needs a strong leaderwho trusts in his or her people and his her people have faith in the leader’s ability towin. Sun Tzu and his principles have played an important role in strategy and strategymaking for 2500 year. Many have been victorious by using his principles; many havelost for not doing, but one is for certain-you can never underestimate the power ofstrategy. Sun Tzu did not. 33
  34. 34. BIBLIOGRAPHYAdam Austin. (2009). Subverted Nation’s Basic Training for RevolutionariesCharles E. Bamford and G. Page West. (2009). Strategic Management: Value Creation,Sustainability, and Performance. Ohio, USA: South-Western Gengage Learning.Gerald A. Michaelson and Steven W. Michaelson. (2004). Sun Tzu Strategies forMarketing: 12 Essential Principles for Winning the War for Customers. New York,McGraw-Hill.Mark McNeilly. (1996). Sun Tzu and The Art of Business: Six Strategic Principles forManagers. New York: Oxford University Press.McNeilly, Mark (2003). Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare. Oxford UniversityPress, USA; Expanded edition (April 10, 2003)Williams, J. (1988). The long left flank : the hard fought way to the Reich, 1944–1945.London: Cooper. PGiles, Lionel (1910). SUN TZU ON THE ART OF WAR - THE OLDEST MILITARYTREATISE IN THE WORLD . [WWW] Reilly, Sun Tzu „The Art of War” Ver 1.1. Baraka Training & Management PtyLtd, [WWW] (4.01.2011)Cantrell, L. R. (2003). Understanding Sun Tzu on the Art of War. Preface andintroduction chapter 1: Winning whole. Published by Center For Advantage. Arlington, VA. [WWW] (14.12.2010)Vietnam War. Wikipedia.[WWW] (14.12.2010)American Civil War. Wikipedia.[WWW] (10.12.2010) Atlanta, Georgia 34