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The Annotated Art of War (Parts 4.16-20: Military Method)

 

Disciplines > Warfare > The Annotated Art of War > Parts 4.16-20: Military Method

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IV. Tactical Dispositions

 

Sun Tzu said: Commentary
16. The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success. Remember the Moral Law, plus method and discipline in the Five Constant Factors. Naturally, success with these should lead to success in war.
17. In respect of military method, we have, firstly, Measurement; secondly, Estimation of quantity; thirdly, Calculation; fourthly, Balancing of chances; fifthly, Victory. Here are five aspects of the 'military method' which are described in more detail in the paragraphs below.

 

18. 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. Nothing is certain in war and victory starts with intelligence that allows understanding of risks and opportunities, projecting possibilities for each and then acting on the one with best outcome.

In business, risks and opportunities are often based more on opinion than data and calculated projection. Improving this will improve success.

19. A victorious army opposed to a routed one, is as a pound's weight placed in the scale against a single grain. Armies that win are superior to those which run away. They have greater advantage and far stronger morale.

In business, do not underestimate the power of motivation. Leading people to wins, even small ones, will increase morale and lead to more wins. After failure, work hard to restore morale.

20. The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep. Dynamics count. A speeding bullet does far more damage than if it was thrown by hand. The momentum of a powerful charge can break through a even a strong defense.

In business, momentum can be caused by a string of successes that keeps competitors on the back foot and may even drive them out of the market.

 

 

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