|Sun Tzu said:
|2. When you engage in
actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons
will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a
town, you will exhaust your strength.
||War should be short
and sharp for several reasons, an important one being that soldiers
are not machines.
War is won with troops who are fired up and
ready for battle. Prolonged campaigns simply wear them out. This is
one reason why siege is a poor
strategy that should be avoided if at all possible.
In business, your people likewise can only work at high levels
for short bursts and need their breaks and holidays to refresh and
|3. Again, if the
campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal
to the strain.
||War also costs. When
a country goes to war it is not just the soldiers who are affected.
They have families who fret whilst they must be put to work to
support the war effort.
And the state's coffers may be depleted of
money as the endless cost of weapons, logistics, wages and so on
continues to mount.
In business, competitive campaigns can likewise be costly. It is
one thing to say 'we will fight' and it is another to stump up, day
after day, for endless warring.
|4. Now, when your
weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and
your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take
advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able
to avert the consequences that must ensue.
||When troops are
exhausted and weapons used up, and supporting resources gone you are
in a position of great weakness and may be easily defeated. Such
situations should be seen long before they happen and in time to be
In reverse, if you can catch your enemy at a low
point, you may snatch victory at relatively little cost.
It is one of the strategies of defense to hunker down and let the
enemy deplete their resources before springing out to take advantage
of their exhaustion.
In business, beware of throwing everything into campaigns if you
do not know that you will win in this way. Steadiness often beats
|5. Thus, though we
have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen
associated with long delays.
||'More haste, less
speed' is a common saying. Yet delay also has its costs. You need
time to think and prepare, but you must also be aware that delay has
costs as your resources are being spent whatever you do.
In business as in war, if you delay you give space for your
opponents to take the initiative. Whilst planning and preparation is
important, action is where value is finally created.
|6. There is no
instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.
even if it finally exhausts the enemy, is not a smart way to fight.
A war of attrition is
simply expensive and its costs will be felt long after the fighting
A smarter way is use cunning and strategy that give
a quick win.
|7. It is only one who
is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly
understand the profitable way of carrying it on.
||It is possible to
profit from war, for example by plundering as you go, although this
can still have a cost in the
guerilla and other subtle revenges.
Evil generally means taking pleasure in harming others. Evil
people do find their way into armies as this provides a means to
their ends. Beware those who fight for their own pleasure rather
than for the love of their country and colleagues.
In business predators can be found who buy up ailing companies in
order to greedily strip their assets without care for the people
they throw out onto the streets. This is bad for business, which is
its own brand.