|Sun Tzu said:
15. In war, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed.
'the act of deceiving'. Deceit is a
common and critical method of wrong-footing the enemy.
also common in business when deliberately keeping a competitor
uncertain and less confident. Of course deceiving customers,
employees or partners is a bad idea.
|16. Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops, must be decided by
|There are various
rules for deciding whether troops should be spread out or brought
together, for example in the need to defend a wide front. Yet in the
end, each decision has many complicating factors and must be
In business, we often seem to blindly apply
rules because 'that is what should be done' and then are surprised
when our decisions fail. Yet if we took time to understand and think
we might have decided otherwise.
|17. Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the
|When you need to move
fast, move fast.
When you need to form a close group, knit
Whatever you need to do, do it well.
We get to do things well when we plan and practice. Knowing what
you need to do is not enough: you must be able to do it.
|18. In raiding and plundering be like fire, is immovability like a mountain.
|Yet again, do
whatever you do, well.
Fight like a demon. Defend like a rock.
|19. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall
like a thunderbolt.
|Keep plans secret and
on a need-to-know basis.
When you speed to the attack, go fast to
build unstoppable momentum.
|20. When you plunder a countryside, let the spoil be divided amongst your
men; when you capture new territory, cut it up into allotments for the benefit
of the soldiery.
|Do remember to reward
your troops for the efforts they make. This is a chance to show that
you care about your people and that you are fair and equitable. Thus
motivated, they will fight harder for you.
These days, when
cameras are everywhere and armchair generals spout civilian
morality, there is controversy over the spoils of war.
In business, there are still many spoils, from competitive
bonuses to taking key management posts in acquisitions.
the demotivational effects of rewards, where people do not get the
recognition they think they deserve.
|21. Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.
|While speed is
important, there is also 'more haste, less speed'.
The more risky
the move the more care is needed. But that does not mean risks
should not be taken.
Perhaps the most important skill is in making good decisions with
limited data, as often is the case in war (and in business).
22. He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of deviation. Such is the art
|'Deviation' can mean
being devious. It can also mean turning off an intended path. Both
are relevant as deception is already known as important and changing
one's course can be helpful for taking opportunities or surprising