The Annotated Art of War (Parts 5.12-15: Decision)
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Annotated Art of War > Parts 5.12-15: Decision
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|Sun Tzu said:
12. The onset of troops is like the rush of a torrent which will even roll
stones along in its course.
||When water flows, it
flows fast over, around and under stones, rolling them onwards. When
troops flow fast and furious, they will bowl over anything in their
path. If you stand before them, then if the first soldier does not
knock you down then the next will, or the one after that, each
flowing in rapid sequence.
Flow happens as a rapid sequence of
blows such that the enemy has no time to recover or resist before
the next arrives.
An example of this happening in business is where a company
releases a superb new product then, even before competitors bring
out a response, they leapfrog again with another, even better
|13. The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which
enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
||Timing is critical in
many situations and none more so than war. The same thrust will have
a very different effect at different times, depending on such
factors as weather conditions or the readiness of the enemy.
well-timed attack is efficient and effective, taking advantage of
all conditions, including the readiness of your troops and the
unreadiness of the enemy.
Timing in business is likewise critical. There are often 'market
windows' in which you can 'make a killing' or otherwise gain
advantage. Outside the window, competitors have established their
brand and are much harder to defeat.
|14. Therefore the good fighter will be terrible in his onset, and prompt in
||The above lessons are
clear. Get your timing right and, once you start, keep the momentum
and flow going.
|15. Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow; decision, to the
releasing of a trigger.
||Energy is both
potential and kinetic. If you bend a bow, it has static but
potential energy. When you release the bow, it has dynamic, kinetic
energy. Your decision as to when you release the arrow will
determine whether it hits its target or misses.
The bent bow is the readiness of your troops. The release bow
leads quickly to them flowing in a rapid torrent over the enemy.