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Sun Tzu’s legendary Principles of War – Applied to Business

 

When you think of Sun Tzu and the Art of War, what comes to mind? Do you think 6th-century warriors, battlefields and an epic battle between good and evil? No? Well, good. Despite its rather grim title, the legendary tome addresses and outlines the appropriate strategies for battle – on the field and of the mind – in short, how to win the battle of wits. Author Pete Mosley takes some of the great tactician’s Principles and breaks them down into present-day work/life hacks.

The Master Principle
The selection and maintenance of the aim. This means that first of all you are to establish clearly what your objective is to be. Once this has been determined precisely you should not allow yourself to deviate from the plan of action you have made.
Tl;dr: Focus on your goals.

Maintenance of Morale
To achieve your aim, you will require high morale from your peers, hence look after them and their interests. With good morale, you will create the will to achieve your aim. Good morale can be hard to create and can be even harder to maintain so take it into consideration when planning.
TL;dr: Keep your head up, and your eyes on the prize.

Offensive Action
Move forward. Be bold and confident. Tread where others have not. Be one step ahead of your enemy (the competition). Never become complacent.
Tl;dr: Blaze your own trail.

Surprise
Do the unexpected. Come up with a new and well thought out plan. Avoid doing “the same old thing.” Ensure that your competitors have no idea as to what you are doing or planning.
Keep’em guessing.

Security
Keep it to yourself. Use the need to know the rule. If someone does not need, they do not have to know. Why lose the element of surprise?
Hold your cards close to your chest.

Concentration of Force
Use your resources carefully and at the right time. One good presentation is better than many poor ones.
Haste makes waste.

Economy of Force
do not burn yourself and your resources out. Try to keep an ace up your sleeve. Do not use a sledgehammer when a gentle tap will do just as well.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Flexibility
So what if the original “Master Plan” does not work or has a temporary set-back. Find an alternative. Maintain morale throughout. If you look hard enough you will find another method to achieve the aim.
Tl;dr: If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Co-operation
Do not do everything yourself. Employ the skills of others and let them use your skills. Help others and be willing to be helped.
There is no “I” in team.

All of the above will require sound administration to work; should you become a casualty your peers can take over and achieve your aim for you. In other words:

It doesn’t hurt to have friends in high places.

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