The Art of War was written by a Chinese general, Sun Tzu more than 2,500 years ago possibly in the 6th Century BC. The book has long been heralded for its advice on military success and also co-opted by generals in the business world and legions of armchair soldiers. The book composed of 13 chapters, each of which focuses on a different aspect of war. It’s such a smart book. It’s also arcane, repetitive and poetic. Sun Tzu said, the art of war is of vital importance to the State. This is quite true in business as much as politics.
Contemporary business-speak has drawn many ideas from argot and lexicon of military strategy and Sun Tzu’s ‘ Art of War” has been one of the texts cited regularly as sharp strategic thinking source for the Business sphere. This is arguably the most revered books in the world on strategy. Sun Tzu’s art of war principles is analogous to powerful business lessons from an iconic strategist. Below are main points of Art of Business borrowed from Sun Tzu’s Art of War.
1. Avoiding your competitor’s strength and focus on their weaknesses
If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak that he may grow arrogant. Wait until he is unprepared then attack him. Attack your enemy at a place where he will be forced to relieve. The perfect way to avoid something strong is to strike what’s weak. More and more leading companies have been incorporating the Western approach into the business world where they attack their competitors’ head-on specifically targeting their strongest point. Most often than not, this strategy results into battles that become quite messy and costly for the people involved. Therefore, it’s always a much safer bet when you focus on your competitor’s weakness since it will significantly increase your profits while bringing your resource usage to the bare minimum.
2. Capturing your market but not destroying it
Sun Tzu reiterates on how it is possible to win them all without fighting. The main objective of the business is definitely to prosper and survive hence capturing your market is quite vital. But, go all the way clean without destroying your market in the process. The best way to this is by focusing on the market areas that are very under-served and ensure that you are subtly and indirectly attacking those areas without ringing the alarm to draw your competitor’s response and attention. Avoid price wars at all costs since research shows that price attack not only draws the most aggressive and quickest response from the rivals but also the market is left without profits.
3. Using preparation and speed to overcome the competition swiftly
Rapidity is quite essential in any war and for you to fully exploit deception and foreknowledge means that you have to act with such high speed. Not to be mistaken with hastily and hap-hazardously doing things but to do adequate preparation within a short period of time. This means that you have to reduce the amount of time your company takes in decision making, developing products and also servicing the customers. It is paramount that you rapidly think through and get to understand the potentially competitive reactions following your attack.
4. Using foreknowledge and deception in maximizing business intelligence power
What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge. Knowledge of the enemies’ disposition can be obtained from spies who must be adequately managed with straightforwardness and benevolence. Be subtle and trust your spies for any kind of business. Understanding of executives’ capabilities, strategy, desire, thoughts as well as having the same scope of information of your weaknesses and strengths will give you an edge in exploiting your competitor’s weakness. When you understand the overall and current industry and competitive trends, then you will get to know the kind of environment you are going to battle in. It’s imperative that you stay tight-lipped about your plans and strategies lest the competitors use them against you.
5. Developing character as any leader should do to help maximize the employees potential.
The leader must be sincere, wise, courageous, humble, strict, decisive and always the ‘first in the fatigues and toils of the army’. The person who is fit to maximize the huge potential of the employees and implement strategic concepts should be tactful, carefully study the situation on the ground and put his/her needs after those of the employees. If the leader wants to get the best out of the employees then he/she must have character.
6.Using strategic control guides and alliances in your industry to shape your competitors and leave them with no option than conforming to your will
When you are able to shape the competition then it will mean that you are in a position to change the rules of the competition to your favor. This means that the competitors will conform to your actions and desires. This means that you are in control and the competition is in your hands. This can be achieved by skillfully making good use of the alliances. When you have built a strong network of alliances, then you limit your competitor’s moves. Also, when you are the one controlling the vital strategic guides in your respective industry, then you’ll be the one calling all the shots.
In a practical scenario of the art of war, the best thing to do is to go to the enemy’s country intact and whole but to shatter it completely is not smart it’s way better to recapture an army entirely or the company entirely than destroying it. Therefore, any experienced leader out there will know how to subdue the troops of the enemy without feeling the need to fight; he will capture their cities without laying them at the siege and he knows how to overthrow the enemy’s kingdom without having to set an intensive operation in there.
Sun Tzu art of war 13 principles through the years have been used in both the business world and military arena to create remarkable strategies and achieve long-lasting strategies. The bottom line is if you know you know yourself and your enemy then you won’t be afraid of the potential results in any battle. By applying Sun Tzu art of war business strategy, then you can position your business into a peaceful operation with the world around you, past the scope of any threat by being indispensable and superior. You will also get acquainted with ways of manipulating the environment to get rid of all obstacles and success will be within your reach.
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