|26. Now the general
who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the
battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few
calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory,
and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all!
It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to
win or lose.
|Battles are won or
lost before they are started. There is much in the way of planning
and preparation that is required.
If you are prepared for the many possible actions of the enemy
and the fickle hands of fate, then you may take advantage of
opportunity and avoid the horrible surprise of being outplayed by
the leader on the other side.
In planning, knowledge of the other side is critical. Knowing
their strength, their position and intent helps you make better
calculations, although you must always be ready for surprise.
Of course the main plan never survives the battle. When the enemy
acts, you have to respond. Yet even plans that are never implemented
have their value in readying you.
As Eisenhower said, 'Plans are nothing, but planning is
In business, managers often make plans as if the future is
pre-ordained to happen as they believe it should. If they do not
consider alternative scenarios they may be surprised. If they do not
build resilience and readiness, they may be defeated by more agile