Life Coach Magazine

Management Strategies: The Art of War II (stratagem and Tactics; Energy)

By Aqualed @aqua_led
Management strategies: The Art of War II (stratagem and tactics; energy)Estrategias de gerencia: El Arte de la Guerra II - Sun Tzu - (estrategia y táctica; energía).
Confident on your capacity; never afraid of the competitors: All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved - Sun Tzu.
Sun Tzu is a Chinese general to whom a collection of essays known as The Art of War is attributed to. For professionals in my field, to learn about management strategies is certainly useful, because the success of our enterprises largely depend on how good our team is. At universities, training on that field (management) is scarce; that is why I decided to share some words on such topic through the essays of General Tzu. At this time, I write some comments on the second part of the book: attack, defense and alternative methods. My expectation is that after reading the brief interpretation I provide, you will feel encouraged to give your own interpretation to Tzu´s work.. 
Stratagem, tactics and energy1. Productivity  To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
2. Planning and preparation Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order to fight. But if neither time nor place be known, then the left wing will be impotent to succor the right, the right equally impotent to succor the left, the van unable to relieve the rear, or the rear to support the van.
3. Planning and calculation In respect of military method, we have, firstly, measurement; secondly, estimation of quantity; thirdly, calculation; fourthly, balancing of chances; fifthly, Victory. 
Measurement owes its existence to Earth; estimation of quantity to measurement; calculation to estimation of quantity; balancing of chances to calculation; and victory to balancing of chances.
4. If the obstacle is too large, sometimes it is more efficient to take a different road Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. 
5. Leadership The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants. The general is the bulwark of the State; if the bulwark is complete at all points; the State will be strong; if the bulwark is defective, the State will be weak.
5.1 Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all; amid confusion and chaos, your array may be without head or tail, yet it will be proof against defeat.
6. Leadership II Know your team There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army:  (1) By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey.   (2) By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army.  (3) By employing the officers of his army without discrimination.
7. Leadership III The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
8. Flexible solutions It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy's one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two; if equally matched, we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.
8.1 Flexibility II Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.
8.2 Flexibility III Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.
8.3 Flexibility IV Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.
8.4 Flexibility V The direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhausible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more.
9. Simple approaches may work for an initial assessment, but extensive analysis together with alternative methods are likely to conquer the ultimate problem. Though an obstinate fight may be made by a small force, in the end it must be captured by the larger force.
10. Rest and trust But when the army is restless and distrustful, trouble is sure to come from the other feudal princes. This is simply bringing anarchy into the army, and flinging victory away.
11. Essentials for victory: (1) Aware of your own strengths and weak points Will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.(2) Be aware of the strengths of your work team Will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. Pick out the right men and utilize combined energy. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain thousands of feet in height. So much on the subject of energy.(3) Spirit Will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.(4) Will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared (the enemy shall be the problem faced).(5) Stand by your technical criteria in front of the non-technical person that hires you  Will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.
12. Understand the problem as well as your strengths and limitations If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
On the other hand there is the saying: One may KNOW how to conquer without being able to DO it.
13. Understand your strengths and limitations II For should the enemy strengthen his van, he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his van; should he strengthen his left, he will weaken his right; should he strengthen his right, he will weaken his left. If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.
14. Efficiency Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.
15. Excellence (arrogance) To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence. Neither is it the acme of excellence if you fight and conquer and the whole Empire says, "Well done!"
15.1 To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.
16. When the workforce is well organized, its size should not constitute an obstacle Fighting with a large army under your command is nowise different from fighting with a small one: it is merely a question of instituting signs and signals.
17. Problem solving  We can form a single united body, while the enemy must split up into fractions. Hence there will be a whole pitted against separate parts of a whole, which means that we shall be many to the enemy's few.
17.1 Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.
17.2 Also, though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting. Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of their success.
17.3 Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient.
..you may have noticed in the later point that The Art of War puts a lot of emphasis on the attitudes that should be embraced when attacking and defending. How to apply into the manuals of our management strategies? This is arguable, because it will depend on who is categorized as the enemy. I tried to put the enemy as the problem we expect to solve; however, you may want to see the enemy in a more explicit form:
18. Attack and defense (attitude?) If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep ditch. All we need do is attack some other place that he will be obliged to relieve.
If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the enemy from engaging us even though the lines of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground. All we need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable in his way.
19. Strategy, never be afraid of the competitors (this one I find to be very interesting, and cannot interpret it out from the context of the confrontation with other companies) All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
Next post: Variations in tactics.
References."The art of war" by Sun Tzu(1) http://www.chinapage.com/sunzi-e.html(2) http://www.online-literature.com/suntzu/artofwar/.

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