Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Achieving Maximum Effectiveness in a Complex World

Building the near-perfect leadership culture for a marathon type of situation is one of the most challenging objectives in any macro strategic culture.

The Question of the Day

How does one assess their competition with Sunzi's strategic principles?

One cannot effectively plan if he/she does not understand the configuration of their competitor.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Question of the Day

Do you know how to connect the Art of War principles to the game of Go (weiqi)?

Ask your "local" Sunzi reader/expert if he/she knows how to do it.

If you want to learn how to strategize and operate in a multi-front situation, we recommended that you learn how to play this game. While it takes eight to ten minutes to learn the basics, you would need a lifetime to master the scheme.

So, do you have the time to learn the game and master it?

For advanced strategic thinkers, there is a way to apply the 36 Stratagems to the game of GO. Whether he or she has the time to learn it, is a different story.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Compass Trend (12): More Emphasis on Efficient Competition

How does one thrive in the information economy when the aim of achieving operational efficiency is paramount?

Accept that the practice of efficient competition is the new norm.

Competition is the opposite of competency. ... Embrace the norm.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Compass Trend (11): The Efficient Economy

When the machines become the operational norm, where would the "real" jobs be? ...

Connect this dot with this dot. Then attached this dot with this dot and this dot. Now, look at the Big Tangible Picture.

Identify your position.

Connect your position with all of the dots together.

So, are you ahead or behind the curve on the long run?

Compass Trend (10): Competitive Darwinism

In an information economy where true blue innovation is rare and many phases of pseudo innovation are usually copied by the masses. The competition from ground up can become quite harsh especially in a non-innovative, social network-driven setting.

How does one maintain their sense of openness without losing their advantage?

Focus Points
The three most relevant points that some people missed are:
  • the identification of their advantage;
  • the geometric scope of their advantage; and
  • the examination of the protection scheme of the advantage.
The Jiang Tai Gong's View
Jiang Tai Gong book "Six Secret Teachings" emphasizes "the importance of protecting one's advantage" regardless of the situation.

King Wen asked Tai Gong:"How does one preserve the state's territory?"

Tai Gong said: "Do not estrange your relatives. Do not neglect the masses. Be concillatory and solicitous towards nearby states and control all that is under you. Do not loan the authority of state to other men. If you loan the authority of state to other men, then you will lose your authority. Do not hurt those of lower position to benefit those of higher position. Do not abandon the fundamental to save those that are inconsequential.

When the sun is at midday, you should dry things. If you grasp a knife, you must cut. If you hold an axe, you must attack."

"If at the height of the day, you do not dry things in the sun, this is termed losing the opportunity.

If you grasp a knife but do not cut anything, you will lose the moment for profits. If you hold an axe and do not attack, enemies will attack instead."

"If trickling streams are not blocked, they will become great rivers. If you do not extinguish the smallest flames, there is nothing much you can do when it turns into great flames.

If you do not eliminate the two-leaf sapling, you might have to use the axe to remove it in future." "For this reason, the ruler must focus on developing wealth within his state. Without material wealth, he has nothing with which to spread beneficence or to bring his relatives together.

If he estranges his relatives it will be harmful. If he loses the common people, he will be defeated. "

"Do not loan sharp weapons to other men. If you loan sharp weapons to other men, you will be hurt by them and will not live out your allotted span of years."
King Wen said:"What do you mean by benevolence and righteousness?"

Tai Gong replied: "Respect the common people, unite your relatives. If you respect the common people, they will be in harmony. And if you unite your relatives, they will be happy. This is the way to implement the essential cords of benevolence and righteousness."

"Do not allow other men to snatch away your awesomeness. Rely on your wisdom, follow the norm. Those that submit and accord with you, treat them generously and virtuously. Those that oppose you, break with force. If you respect the people and trust, the state will be peaceful and populace submissive." - T’ai Kung Liu-t’ao (Six Secret Teachings)

More on this topic can be found in the Seven Military Classics of Ancient China.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Question of the Day

Ask your "loco" Sunzi readers and experts the following question- What are the distinctions and the differences between Jiang Tai Gong's Six Secret Teachings and Sunzi's Art of War?

When one can determine that connective view of Jiang Tai Gong and Sunzi, he/she is able to increase the scope of their Big Tangible Picture (BTP).

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sun Bin: The Art of Warfare (Military Methods) (2)

Following is a list of tactics that Sun Bin was famous for:

We will focus on the specifics for each tactic in future posts

Ask your local Sunzi (Sun Tzu) expert, whether he/she knows what is the grand strategic point that connects to all four tactics?"

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Strategizing by Scripting

Amateurs compile lists of steps while professionals devise scripts.

What are the differences between a "script" and a list?
  • The script is for people who are proactively operate with a purpose.
  • The script is for people who are methodical by style.
  • Lists are for people who believed that their settings are always static
  • The list sometimes produces the illusion of stability
  • The script enables its implementer to operate in the settings of order and disorder.
This implement works when one's strategic operational team have comprehended the configuration of their Big Tangible Picture (BTP) and possessed a grand understanding of the strategic and tactical principles. By understanding their BTP, They know what adds up and when it multiples.

The Process of a Script Verses An Assortment of Principles
Having a large list of strategy principles and operational measures cannot always help the strategic implementer if he/she does not know how to script their operation in a concise way. (Some of the pseudo experts tell their followers to utilize a few of their interpreted principles for the purpose of resolving their problems regardless of their situation. )

Fwiw, the size of one's endeavor is proportional to the importance of having a well-devised script.

Compass Script
The Compass Script is our macro approach that organizes the assortment of lists of tactical plays for specific situations. It also enables its implementer to adjust their process and their objectives for certain situations

The process is specifically designed for short-term, reward-based projects with long-range implication. These projects are usually aligned to unpredictable strategic situations where the macro variables could change.

We will discussed about how a typical Compass Script works in a future post.

Question of the Day
Does your team operate from a script?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Seeing the Dao of Everything

"In planning, never a useless move.
In strategy no step is in vain. .." -Chen Hao

In the "Year of the Dragon", President Obama (and his team) made the right political move to visit San Francisco's Chinatown. ... The President presented his brand of leadership by establishing the act of credibility with some of his vast voter base. He methodically displayed the courage of leaving his car and began the process of "meeting and greeting" with some of the residents of San Francisco's Chinatown while picking up some Chinese food. This act of being benevolent, also displayed the image of wisdom to the Chinese residents. ...

# Update: The above act is a political flavor of implemented strategic power. Do you know why?

Exemplary leadership is about properly demonstrating an assortment of actions relating to wisdom, credibility, benevolence, courage and discipline to the right people at the right time. ... Smart political leaders of all sorts who are mindfully aware, usually performed this deed quite well.

Seeing the Dao of their settings usually enables one to shape their grand terrain and its "connecting" secondary terrains. ... One who consistently connects these dots, will eventually
succeed in the information-based opportunity economy.

Remember, macro coincidences are usually scripted.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Competing in the Info Economy: Understanding the Deception Game

Whether one is located in Silicon Valley or in London or anywhere else, a game of deception could be subtly implemented onto their terrain. It is quite important that he/she is always mindfully aware of what is indirectly happening around their settings.

Food for Thought
During your daily assessment of the Big Tangible Picture , are you able to identify a deception that could be operating within the confines of your settings?

If one is properly assessing their settings, then the odds of "getting spinned" are lowered.

To thrive in uncertain settings, it is important for that person to focus on completing their own priority objective while being mindfully aware of their own settings (and beyond). ... The key to strategic assessment is to pay strict attention to the right specifics while working on connecting the dots.

For the AoW audience, what chapter can you find that point?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thriving in the Info Economy (2)

To thrive in the information economy, the smart strategists cautiously avoid and evade the many visual and audio distractions around our chaotic-filled settings.

To get an alternative view, we recommended our audience to visit Cook Ding Kitchen and Jade

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Comment from the Compass Desk

When both team's tendencies, hangups and weaknesses are thoroughly identified and pinpointed by each side, the fans should always expect a low scoring game. ...

In a near-predictable setting, most people are focused on implementing their strengths and rarely are focused on implementing a surprise play. ... The configuration of their decision process are usually based on their knowledge and their belief of what the other side knows. In most cases, each competitor would sit back and waited for the other person to make a major err.

Fwiw, there is a psychological reason for that type of decision management process. Do you know what it is? ... If you know the answer, do you know what is the counter approach for this mode of conservative decision-making?

We were slightly surprised that Coach Belichick and Tom Brady (QB) did not run any real trick plays during the early phase of the Super Bowl game. Their offense did not gain any real momentum for most of the game until the end of the halves. They stayed with their strengths.

Certain people should now retire their copies of the Art of War (or at least update it) until the next football season.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Understanding the Competition (2)

Some of the Super Bowl viewers are quietly predicting the victor of today's game. Some of the factors that were being used to make their prediction are quite interesting.

Here is an abridged list of those factors:
  • the team colors;
  • the favorite uniform numbers;
  • the sentimental reasons;
  • the quality of quarterbacks;
  • the wins and losses record for each team;
  • the current streak of wins;
  • the recent two minute scoring drives;
  • the number of sacks per game; and
  • the number of interceptions per game.
There is no home field advantage.

A Mini Assessment From the Compass Desk
Here is our abridged listing of general strategic factors that we are using to predict the possible winner:
  • the injury factor;
  • the better defense;
  • the balance of the offensive game;
  • the quality of competition;
  • the giveaway and takeaway factor; and
  • the momentum of winning over superior competition.
Do your homework. Focus your attention on understanding who has the better strategic power in terms of their competitive disposition, their capitalization of opportunities, their effectiveness of timed execution, their display of illusions and reality. Identify the various categories of mismatches (i.e, offense vs. defense, QB vs. MLB and FS, the offensive line vs. the defensive line, etc.) and you might discover who could be the winner before the game begins.

Then, take the data and implement the Compass process. ... It is that simple. Or is it?

Question of the Day
What strategic and tactical factors have you used to assess your company and your competition?

Big Tangible Picture
We believed that both coaches have a deep understanding of the tendencies of each other so well that they might play it conservatively in the beginning of the game. Based on history, I expected that Coach Belichick is going to implement his arsenal of unorthodox plays to unnerve his competition during the early stage of the game. He and Brady will be looking for poor defensive responses while creating new opportunities through the various schemes of mismatching.

Unorthodox stratagems (trick plays) sometimes do not matter in a near-predictable setting if one's team has the superior (and experienced) manpower who could adjust to any unique changes.

# note: We will talk about the rules of implementing unorthodox stratagems and playing the contrarian card in a future post.

If the New England Patriots score on the first two drives with their no huddle offense and if the NY Giants are able to responded to it, one usually expected the game to go on a high scoring momentum at least for the first half of the game. ... We would not be surprised to see the Giants play the no-huddle offense option since the Patriots "bend but don't break" defense is technically questionable. The injury factor plays a significant role within the Patriots defense and the Patriots offense. ... Do not be surprised if the Patriots run more blitz packages in certain defense situations.

Due to the settings of the competitive terrain and the comprehension of both teams tendencies by both coaches, some of us think that the total score of this game is going to be under the line of 54 points.

What-If Situations
If the Patriots secured a minimum of a 10-point lead (early in the game), the Patriots will usually run up the score. ... Lets presumed that the game becomes a shootout or a possible slaughter, some of us are choosing the NYG to win.

If the game becomes very close, the New England Patriots team has a good chance of winning. ...

Another situation is the game becomes a shootout and goes overtime, there is a chance that the total score of the game would go over the line of 54 points.

* Side note: When assessing and positioning through planning, do you practice the art and the process of scenario modeling?

What is your call? ... (The answer is not in your copy of the Art of War.)

# update at 14:38 hr pst

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Compass Trend (10): Employing the Health-Perfect Employees

In order to minimize their costs and maximize their operational efficiency, some of the companies are now demanding the employment of non-smoking employees. From the employers viewpoint, they have to achieve the minimum costs at all levels. We believed that this trend has the potential to become the standard for lower tier employees. Sooner or later, these companies will only employ people who possessed the near-perfect food diet.

The standards of employment are now being raised in our minimum-growth economy. The exception to this "possible" norm is the person who generates a great amount of profit that exceeds the cost by 10 x's.

In summary, staying ahead of the curve means that one must stay focused on the various political, economic, social and technological influences that are appearing in our performance-driven society.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Compass Trend (9): Automation, Self Service and Other Matters

We have been briefing you on the effect of automation in our information economy. Some of you could have noticed that the upswing of automation usually come with the negative effect of low labor growth.

The next target of automation is now being implemented in the police department. Due to the current state of the economy, what is the chance that there will be more foot patrol?

Self Service
As mentioned in a previous post, self service is the other "hot" trend. It is only a matter of time where the majority of the fast food companies and the utility companies will be automating most of their services in the various regions. We believed that most of the "one on one" services will be provided by companies that are catered toward the upper middle tier and the upper tier of the social-economic value chain.

Playing the Cyclical Game
The quantity of the quality competition and the supply of a specific item usually determine the price of the demanded item. This rule is one of the many drivers that have pushed the information economy forward.

To gain the strategic positional edge of their grand setting, one must understand the uniqueness of those demand cycles and the dynamic pricing (variable ticket pricing) of their business situation.

Questions to Think about
Have automation, self service and low-wage labor affected your region? Can you see how it might affect you and your company now and later?

Do you have a tangible process that enables you to organizes and prioritizes your objectives and approaches, by connecting it to the Big Tangible Picture(BTP). If so, has it helped you set the pace of your workflow?

Are you utilizing your process to stay ahead of the curve?

To stay ahead of changes and your competition, you have to spend some time reflecting on the causes and the after-effect of your actions.

Ask yourself these three questions:
  • Did today's activities assisted you in terms of meeting your long-term objectives?
  • Are you ahead or behind the curve?
  • Are you still on that path of achieving strategic effectiveness?
Then, use the answers as a foundation for reviewing one's strategic position.

We will discussed more about this matter in a later post.