The Annotated Art of War Parts 7.1-4: From Command to Maneuver
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Annotated Art of War > Parts 7.1-4: From Command to Maneuver
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|Sun Tzu said:
1. Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his commands from the
|The ultimate command
comes from the ruler of the country. The general's purpose is to
achieve the intent and goals set by this ruler.
As with any
goal-setting, it is important for the ruler to have achievable
aspirations. A wise rules discusses possibilities with the general
before settling on the final command.
It is then important for the ruler to allow the general to use
his skills to develop the strategy to achieve the intended ends.
In business, the CEO and board set the objectives that are
executed further down the organization. This says much about the
importance of selection and of trust.
|2. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, he must blend and
harmonize the different elements thereof before pitching his camp.
|Putting together a
fighting force has many options, for example creating an elite
brigade or spreading the best men to create a wider capability. The
way the troops and weapons are organized depends on the strategic
intent and planned maneuvers.
In business as in war, a difficult
question is where to put your best people. There is no magic formula
for this but your choice can be critical.
|3. After that, comes tactical maneuvering, than which there is nothing more
difficult. The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the
devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain.
|With a clear intent
and organized force, the next step is to get them into motion.
Maneuvering involves moving. Good maneuvering is like playing chess,
where much of the game is about positioning in order to secure
effective attacks that lead inexorably to victory.
In business, strong execution is very important. You can
strategize all you like, but if you can't do what you planned, you
are likely in deep trouble.
4. Thus, to take a long and circuitous route, after enticing the enemy out of
the way, and though starting after him, to contrive to reach the goal before
him, shows knowledge of the artifice of deviation.
|In planning maneuvers,
it should be remembered that the other army will also be maneuvering,
leading to a form of 'dance'. The general who understands the other
side's maneuvers will most likely win.
Good maneuvers include
surprise, for example
where the enemy thinks you are behind them, then finds you have
slipped past them and are in front.
This is the skill of the general.
In business, manuvering is
also important, and a surprised competitor is one who is put off
their footing. For example when they are enticed to great expenditure
for no real gain.