|Sun Tzu said:
4. The general who thoroughly understands the advantages that accompany
variation of tactics knows how to handle his troops.
||Knowing tactics is
not enough. You need to know when to use them. In particular there
is skill in matching the tactics to both the situation and to one
In this way, a sequence of simple tactics can be as
varied and powerful as DNA, which is a simple sequence of only four
In business, you can have a great strategy but if you cannot
translate it into a solid yet adaptive execution then it will all be
|5. The general who does not understand these, may be well acquainted with the
configuration of the country, yet he will not be able to turn his knowledge to
||Knowing the terrain
is not enough. Knowing the weather is not enough. Knowing your
troops is not enough. Knowing the enemy is not enough.
You must also know what tactics will be effective in the specific
situation you face.
|6. So, the student of war who is unversed in the art of war of varying his
plans, even though he be acquainted with the Five Advantages, will fail to make
the best use of his men.
||You can learn tactics
by two methods. First, you can learn from experience. A cheaper way
is to learn what has worked and what has not worked in the past for
The best generals are both continuous students and
experienced practitioners. Through this combination they can learn
what will work even before they have used it.
It is easy in
business to speak with certainty. It is harder to have the humility
|7. Hence in the wise leader's plans, considerations of advantage and of
disadvantage will be blended together.
||Advantage is a
two-sided coin. When you do not have advantage, the other side has
advantage and you have disadvantage.
At any one time, you have
both advantage and disadvantage. Plans and actions need to take heed
|8. If our expectation of advantage be tempered in this way, we may succeed in
accomplishing the essential part of our schemes.
||Above all, a
commander must be realistic. It is easy to be gung-ho and it is easy
to be overly cautious. It takes skill to walk the best line between.
|9. If, on the other hand, in the midst of difficulties we are always ready to
seize an advantage, we may extricate ourselves from misfortune.
||Ahead always lies
paths of advantage and disadvantage and these constantly change in
the maneuvers of war and the ebbs and flows of battle.
If you pay
close attention to these, you have the opportunity to shore up
disadvantage and grasp the moments of advantage.
Likewise in business, companies go through times of advantage and
disadvantage. It is easy in both times to assume this will continue.
Better is to plan with knowledge of real advantage and the locus
10. Reduce the hostile chiefs by inflicting damage on them; and make trouble
for them, and keep them constantly engaged; hold out specious allurements, and
make them rush to any given point.
|Here are three ways
of gaining advantage.
1. Inflicting damage that reduces their ability
to fight and throws their plans into disarray.
2. Making trouble for them that keeps them busy and steadily
3. Proffering bait, especially when they are oppressed and will
grasp at straws, which can lure them into ambush.
|11. The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's
not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his
not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position
||Any war can be won if
you can always defend successfully.
The best strategy is hence to always ready to take on the enemy at