Friday, April 1, 2011

The Dao of Strategic Assessment #5: Assessing the Opposition Via the Art of War

“These are the ways that successful strategists are victorious. They cannot be spoken or transmitted in advance. ... Before the confrontation, they resolve in their conference room that they will be victorious, have determined that the majority of factors are in their favor. Before the confrontation they resolve in their conference room that they will not be victorious, have determined a few factors are in their favor.

If those who find that the majority of factors favor them, will be victorious while those who have found few factors favor them will be defeated, what about someone who finds no factors in their favor?

When observing from this viewpoint, victory and defeat will be apparent.”

- Art of War 1 (Paraphrased from the Sawyer's translation)

We have various ways of assessing the macro situation (the grand terrain) and the competition that resides within it. One of our alternate processes is based on those mentioned factors from the Art of War. (Our macro model is based on the principles of the Seven Chinese Military Classics, Sun Bin's Military Methods and other strategic essays.)

After many thousands of hours of researching and experimenting, we were able to identify those factors and concluded with the correct sequence of those factors.

Our professional expertise and our strategic experience have enabled us to transform it into a hierarchical-based strategic decision management model. ... With the proper collection of quality intelligence, the successful strategists can complete their goal by finding the path of least resistance through the conceptual use of Assessing, Positioning and Influencing.

Our process also allows the implementers to identify the current and the possible future situations of the competitive terrain and the competitors who resided within it.

The amateurs are in love with the concept of imposing their will into the opposition by planning and implementing their plan. (They can't help it. It is in their DNA. Their expediters regularly expired while they might secure a victory.) Depending on the configuration of the situation, success is not always guaranteed.

Our research shows that the successful strategists usually followed the paradigm of assessing the Big Tangible Picture before deciding on any strategic move.  They are also focused on finding and utilizing the path of least resistance to their advantage.

Macro Compass Rules
  • Assess the Big Tangible Picture before deciding on any strategic move.
  • Identify the vital objectives, the urgent objectives and the grand objectives
  • Determine the advantages and the disadvantages behind the approaches for each objective  
  • Connect each strategic (or tactical) move into one "active" thread and focus it toward your goal.
  • Anticipate two moves ahead while implementing half a step forward.
  • Plan purposeful move. Operate with a focus on 100% efficiency. 
  • Operate efficiently.  Do not waste a move. 

Minor Jottings
We will discussed more about our Compass strategic process model in a future post.

Through the proper assessment of the Big Tangible Picture, the successful strategists always achieved their strategic power within their competing arena. Understand the specifics behind it is the first step. This is the Dao of the Successful Strategist (or the Compass Strategist).

If you are interested in knowing more about it, please drop us a note.

{ Minor update to this post. 08/18/13 }

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