There are important business lessons from military strategy.
We are living in the most challenging times for business and economics ever. Only the fit and agile will win. If you are not committed to winning, to conquering against all odds, you will be brushed aside and passed over by people and companies that are more determined to win than you are. You need a strategy for winning. Moreover, military history teaches some strategies that when applied, led to victory and when not applied or misapplied, led to defeat. Why refer to military strategy when we are talking about business? The word strategy itself originates from the Greek word strategia, meaning “art of troop leader; office of general, command, generalship”. Market success, victory against great odds, requires leadership, ability, and skills. Great military leaders have been studied throughout history to determine which qualities and abilities enabled them to win. (e.g. Sun Tzu- The Art of War; Von Clausewitz- On War; Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War). The studies have identified principles of military strategy that, when properly applied, lead to victory, when ignored, lead to defeat. The following principles apply to business as well, because in business today, you are at war against competitors determined to win customers. 1. The Principle of the Objective. Business leaders and marketers, must establish clear objectives for every business action. Long term goals first, well communicated to everyone expected to help achieve them. Everyone in the team should know the objectives. 2. The Principle of the Offence Attack = marketing and sales to you customers. Sell more and you win. Sell less and you lose. The reason for business failure is low sales. 3. The Principle of the Mass This is the ability of the commander to concentrate his forces at one point, the location of the enemy’s greatest vulnerability. In business, this is the ability to focus your company’s limited resources and energies on its greatest potential opportunities. 4. The Principle of Maneuverability A winning army is highly mobile; it can quickly move to attack the enemy where it is most vulnerable. Almost all great military victories are the result of speed and movement. You have to be innovating. Continually seek faster, better, cheaper, easier and more effective ways to produce and sell your products and services. 5. The Principle of Intelligence This refers to the need to obtain excellent information concerning the actions and movements of the enemy. In business, the more you know and understand about your competitors and your marketplace, the more successful you will be. 6. The Principle of Concerted Action This refers to the general in command’s ability to ensure that all parts of his forces work together in harmony and cooperation in both defensive and offensive operations. A well-organized, smoothly functioning army can defeat a much bigger disorganized army. (Alexander the Great v Darius of Persia in 323 BCE, Israel v the Arab nations in 1967). In business, all work is done by teams. Only excellent, efficient and well ordered teams will achieve business results. 7. The Principle of Economy Do not lose money. Use creativity, your brains instead of wasting money. Only spend money where it can have a direct influence on increasing sales and revenues. In this issue of BusinessLink magazine, we give you advice from experts on how you can win by being brilliant in the basics. Brilliance is not something one is born with. It is acquired and we show you how to acquire it in this magazine. Feedback me on twitter :#chichonip