Monday, November 21, 2011

The Art Of War

Corporate strategy has come a long way in the few short years, relatively speaking, that it has existed.

Sun Tzu's The Art Of War is filled with brilliant quotes or proverbs to live your life by. It was originally written to be a guide to the art of war. i.e. this was a war manual for the commanders of battalions to ensure victory.

In modern times, the quotes and proverbs have been re-purposed into a more modern context. Sure, we're not laying siege to fortresses or devising schemes to flank the enemy with fast-moving cavalry, but still, there is value in the words and concepts.

"All war is based on deception"
I'm sure no day goes by where you don't use deception to better your world. Whether it's avoiding the truth through delicate omissions or outright lying if the truth would be far worse to tell. Our lives are filled with deception and it's only those that choose to deceive that have the greatest chance to succeed.

"He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious"
Corporate life ensures that if you don't follow this, you will see the exit sooner rather than later. Even if you are right, it's best to avoid a Pyrrhic Victory: a victory at too greater cost.

"Know your enemy"
If you know and understand your enemy you can predict his/her movements and take a path that most benefits your actions. I'm pretty sure that your simplest battles in the day-to-day have come when you understand how to get the most out of someone that is not necessarily a willing helper.

In hindsight, it would seem obvious, but to have all these valuable 'war' mindsets in one book brings with it great value. There are plenty more quotes that I've chosen to omit, but it's definitely worth getting your mind focussed on the art of war.