|Sun Tzu said:
11. We may take it then that an army without its baggage-train is lost;
without provisions it is lost; without bases of supply it is lost.
||An army, as they say,
marches on its stomach. Supplies of food and all the other
requirements of living keep the army not just alive but motivated
Short maneuvers work without a supply line, but they
cannot hold out forever, and so need the main force to catch up
|12. We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs
of our neighbors.
||History is full of
alliances that turned into treachery. If another offers a hand, ask
'What do they really seek? What is in it for them?'
When you know
their true desires and intent, you can then determine whether to
ally with them and how you can trust them.
|13. We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with
the face of the country--its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices,
its marshes and swamps.
||To march across
unknown lands is to risk finding unfordable rivers and unscalable
cliffs. If you do not know what is ahead, you may be caught in an
ambush in a narrow defile where you cannot fight with strength. If
you do not know the land you risk others being on high ground and
miss advantages you can gain.
Wars are often spent around hills,
with one force on top and the other at the bottom, trying to
It is hence imperative to understand well the land ahead. If you
do not have maps this means sending out scouts.
The principle is true in business for knowing anything that is
ahead. As far as you can see, so you can be prepared.
|14. We shall be unable to turn natural advantage to account unless we make
use of local guides.
||Scouting can only
tell you so much. Natives who have lived there will know much more
than you possibly can, so make use of them.
In business, find those who know and understand things at a depth
cannot, then learn from them. One resource that is often forgotten
is your own front-line people who meet and deal with customers every
day. What would be different if executives had such knowledge?