Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Favorite Strategy and Tactics Posts!

(updated at 1800 hrs) 

The strategists who are seeking for another perspective in their endeavor. Please read this post.

Following is an abridged listing of our favorite posts

Understanding the Basics of Strategy

How to Center and Focus
One could not strategize if he/she does not possess the skill of "centering and focusing"

Miscellaneous Reading 

Happy New Year.  ... 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Food For Thought: An Idea for December 25

Chinese Food + Netflix = A Good Day

An Interesting Perspective

Comments From The Compass Desk
The late and great Red Auerbach the former coach of the Boston Celtics (a professional basketball team) , always had Chinese food for dinner regardless whether his Boston Celtics team won or lost a game.   ... He always insisted that his team consumed Chinese food for dinner, especially before a game. 

The presumption was that good Chinese food should never create the feeling of "heavy" with the eater.  Whether Coach Auerbach and his team ever completed a Chinese "nine course" banquet, is a different story.   

"Being light is right" is the basic rule.     In our case,  some of us have always followed the Compass rule of being agile and mobile.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Winter Tradition of Reading the Classics and Other Matters

(Updated at 12:22 hrs.)

As mentioned before, being mindfully aware is the key to succeeding in any endeavor. Sometimes it does not hurt to re-read the classics to remind us of the various fundamentals of life. 

Recommended Classics
In a previous post, we discussed the topic of taking one quiet weekend to re-read the classics (The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Dao De Jing, Zhuang Zi, etc.) during the winter season while standing.

One of the following weekends, some of the group will be re-reading some of the following books:
  • Against the Gods (The Remarkable Story of Risk);
  • Sherlock Holmes Detective Stories;
  • The Protracted Game;
  •  The Thirty-six Stratagems Applied to Go;
  • The Tao of Physics; 
  • Strategies for the Human Realm;
  • The Tao of Deception;
  • 100 Unorthodox Strategies;
  • Dao De Jing;
  • Zhuang Zi;
  • The Romance of the Three Kingdoms; and
  • other unique strategic classics.
Here is an abridged list of the past "hot" books that we have read:
  • Anti-Fragile; 
  • Made to Stick;
  • The Physics of Wall Street;
  • The Signal and The Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail- but Some Don't 
  • Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe
For those who are audio listeners, we recommended the following books:
The rest of us will also be working on our Tangible Vision and our Compass Script while drinking hot tea.

This specific tradition and the use of the standing table have also enabled us  to hone our strategic and tactical skills.

Other Traditions and Suggestions
Following are other interesting yearly traditions that some of our strategic associates have always abide by:
  • Renewing one's yearly subscription of Business Week, Psychology Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist;
  • Reviewing and updating one's tactical playbook;
  • Reviewing and updating one's contacts notebook;
  • Upgrading one's own technological infrastructure; and 
  • Updating one's own security practices.
Our friends at Cook Ding Kitchen and other strategic groups have always reminded us to abide the subsequent list of suggestions that would help the underdogs:
  • Donating some cash or books to your local libraries;  
  • Donating some cash and/or food to your local charities; and 
  • Offering strategic advice to your local non-profit charities.
Comment From the Compass Desk
Practicing the process of reading the configuration of a situation, reflecting on the pluses and the minuses and adjusting to the  situation, is the daily proclivity of a good strategic implementer.

In our case, we preferred the practice of assessing, positioning and influencing.  We will discuss about that specific practice in a future post. 

# # #

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Succeeding in Life by Being Mindfully Aware

Many years ago, Mr  D , an associate of ours, spent time learning the Wudang martial arts system from a Mr. Li.    (From our understanding, Mr. Li has now retired somewhere in Northern California.)

About 17 years ago, Mr D took the time to teach some of us the many interesting Wudang traditions and exercises that would assist any budding strategists in the practice of mindful awareness. During the session, he offered an efficient but pragmatic perspective of those fundamentals

Modernization of the Practices
We recently had a long discussion on these traditions and decided to document these unique practices.  During the session, 
we also integrated some other unique practices that were quite effective in chaotic times and create the following listing of those practices:
  • Climbing a steep hill during the rainy season;
  • Take one quiet weekend during the winter season to re-read a set of classics (The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Dao Dejing, Zhuang Zi, etc.) while standing;
  • Reciting the technical principles of Baguazhang quietly during one's internal martial art training session; 
  • Humming Bach's "The Art of Fugue" in a moderately low tone while performing Baguazhang's circular walking exercise in a fixed frame mode;
  • Reciting specific principles from the Art of War essay while analyzing a situation;
  • Reflecting on a critical situation in a warm, fireplace-lighted room while listening to Bach's Goldberg Variations (The Goldberg Variations piece is great for calming those who need some time and space to contemplate and cogitate.);
  • "Fasting" for an unknown number of hours before making a grand decision;
  • Re-fueling one's tea collection before the end of the winter season.
  • Maintaining the daily habit of scripting.
  • Practicing Taijiquan on a hot day before drinking Oolong tea; 
  • Walk 10,000 steps a day.
Our friends at Cook Ding's Kitchen are big fans of this category of pragmatic practices.

The Next to Final Comments
As mentioned before. the objective of this unique list is to develop an efficient state of mindful centering and awareness.  You do know how to do that.  Do you?

"Psychology is Strategy" is our first clue to understanding the other grand meaning behind this unique listing of practices. 

Comments From The Compass Desk
One could only succeed in their endeavors  if he/she is mindfully aware of the Big Tangible Picture of the situation and know how to strategize effectively.  You do know what is in your Big Tangible Picture!?  . . .  Do you?

One could stay ahead of the curve by being mindfully aware of the Dao of the situation.  We will include details behind this unique view and the specific psychological reasoning behind each of those mentioned practices in a future post. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Essence of Success: Persisting and Knowing When Not To Back Down

I Won't Back Down
Well, I won't back down
No I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

No I'll stand my ground
Won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground

And I won't back down
(I won't back down)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(I won't back down)
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won't back down
Well I know what's right
I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I'll stand my ground
And I won't back down
(I won't back down)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(I won't back down)
Hey I will stand my ground
(I won't back down)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(I won't back down)
Hey I won't back down
(I won't back down)
Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
(I won't back down)
I will stand my ground
And I won't back down
No I won't back down

What usually enables the successful strategist to prevail over the daily challenge of their endeavor?

"It is persistence which wins many challenges. And persistence is strictly a matter of force of will. ... Sometimes, the outcome of a competition is not decided by the first strategic move or even the third. ... Rather, fortitude is involved. Force of will is persistence. If one does not lose their sense of self, he or she will persist and their strategic power will not diminish. ... On the contrary, it will endure after their body has wasted away." - A Nameless Strategist

Understanding the configuration of one's Big Tangible Picture (BTP) and beyond, is the starting step. .We presumed that you know how to do that!?  ... Do you? 

Comments From The Compass Desk
From our experience, the will to prepare is greater than the will to win.  Do you know why?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Interesting Book on the Zhou Dynasty by Dr. Ralph Sawyer (Conquest and Domination in Early China: Rise and Demise of the Western Chou )

Dr. Sawyer has just recently published his book on the amazing ascension of the Western Zhou dynasty.

Conquest and Domination in Early China: Rise and Demise of the Western Chou 

Conquest and Domination examines the strategy and actors instrumental in the Chou’s (Zhou’s) astonishing rise from an obscure clan of uncertain location to their surprising conquest of the mighty Shang at the decisive battle of Mu-yeh in 1045 BCE. Based upon traditional historical literature, extensive archaeological materials, and contemporary bronze inscriptions, the first section traces their early migrations and gradual acquisition of power and territory through both political and military means before analyzing the many physical, tactical, and psychological factors that contributed to their success. The second part is devoted to reprising and understanding the rebellion that arose within a few years, with the third chronicling the military activities of the nearly three centuries before the Western Chou’s highly melodramatic but ignominious collapse. The final section is devoted to pondering several crucial factors and raising questions about the period’s history. Particular emphasis is placed employing the insights that can be gleaned from traditional Chinese military science and understanding the importance of developments from within the subsequent historical perspective.

Minor Jottings

There who are interested in ancient Chinese history, should also read Dr. Sawyer's Ancient Chinese Warfare (ACW).

There is more to the strategy game than the usual battlefield campaigns, the strategies, the tactics and other unique attributes, one has to understand the basic components behind it.

While most amateurs are enthusiastic about the execution of tactics, the professionals are focused on the logistics behind the tactics.  ... This book examines those significant fundamentals that have played a major role during that era.

If you are seeking an integrated view of the Ancient Chinese mindset, we highly recommend this book.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013 (Buy USA)

If you are tired of buying off shore goods, buy US-manufactured goods.  Click here for more information.  

This site has an interesting blog.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Profiting Through Deception in the Cyber Economy (updated) [Interesting Article from the Wall Street Journal]

(The earlier version of this post was accidentally activated. 
It has been correctly updated at 17:18 hrs)

Assessing for deception is the secondary aim of a web surfer in the information economy. The general goals of most web surfers is to shop for bargains or to secure general information while wasting time.

Many days ago, Wall Street Journal published a interesting article on how some retailers were "gaming" their ever obsessive compulsive customer base. 

/// Some of us who have worked in retail (during our college days), always knew how retailers shaped a "legal" deception to create interest. ///

To understand the tangibility behind the over-hyped retail economy, the retailers have been using "big data" tools to understand the supply of certain products and the demand of the targeted consumers. Then they would create the "hype" that manipulates the emotional need of their targeted clientele.

The results from this manipulation should be obvious.

As it gets closer to the Christmas, the prices frequently drop.  By being willing to play the "waiting game", the shoppers would have received the gratification of saved money.

Immediate emotional gratification of purchasing overpaid items or delayed emotional gratification of saved money. ... Which is better for you? 

The Compass Approach
Successful strategists usually utilize the cyclical approach to examine the "deceptive" state of the situation.  Regardless of the item, they usually play the "cycle" game and wait until the hype dissipates and the prices drop. 

Remember, no hype stays forever.  Sooner or later, the tangibility of the situation would always appeared to the mindful observers.  ... Successful strategists are always focused on their objectives while being constantly mindful of the Big Tangible Picture of their situation and beyond.  (The unmindful ones are just lucky. Sooner or later, the curve will win.)

"The Sage observes signs from the movements of Heaven and Earth and knows its principles. He observes the movement of the sun and the moon and understand their seasonal activity. He follows the cycles of day and night, taken them as his constant. All things have life and death in accord with the principles of Heaven and Earth. Thus it is said that if one fights before understanding the situation, even if he is more numerous, he will certainly be defeated."  - Six Secret Teachings

The first step of our approach is to assess the seasonal configuration of the Big Tangible Picture for that situation. Then, examine the driving factors that created the state of the current situation before determining when is the next seasonal change. You do know how to do that.  Do you?

Side Notes on Other Deceptive Means
Beside the mentioned point of deceiving, there are other cyber means to mislead the non-attentive. Click here,  here here and here for some other examples.  ... 

Even some Yelp reviews and some aspects of Twitter are questionable.

When surfing the web, you should be aware of the other "relevant" news links that would divert you from your goal.

Also, be aware of the web sites that you are visiting and what web link that you are going to click on. Be mindful of the patterns of consistency and inconsistency. 

To detect the technological-driven deception, the cyclical approach might not be always effective.  ... Staying centered and be quietly observant of the current situation is step one. Then, ask yourself, "does the configuration of the situation technically connect to the Big Picture?  ... "

Based on that answer, you should be able to determine what is the tangibility of the situation. 

Final Thoughts
To avoid being a victim of any category of deception, you must be critical in your assessment.  ...  Whether you are surfing the web or walking the streets of your city or town, carefully observe your terrain. Focus on the integrity of the situation by examining the components behind it. ... After a quiet session of mindful observation, you might realized that all that glitter is not gold.

Think about it.

# # #

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Comments on WSJ's Article on "Football's Secret Strategies" (How to Shape the Competition)

(updated on 12.03.13)

Presuming that you are a gridiron fan, do you know the strategic process that some football coaches have used to designed their football game strategies?

Click here for an interesting read from this past Friday's Wall Street Journal on this unique topic.

What fascinates most readers is the extensiveness of planning and preparation that arises from this high level of competition. In some cases, the possible consequences that arise from a potential team loss quietly hover on the mind of the coaches and the players.  The solution to that dilemma is that they must believed that their scheme is built correctly and that they are capable to execute it. The 

The Compass View on Gameplanning
The objective of any "tangible" gameplan is to "subjugate" the competition by whatever legal means necessary.

Following is our abridged listing of the basic objectives that should be in all competitive gameplans:
  • Capitalizing on the competitor's weaknesses while avoiding their strengths;
  • Focusing on utilizing one's strengths while concealing one's own weaknesses;
  • Initiating our momentum from the inception of the game (i.e., scoring first  or creating a defensive turnover) while diminishing their momentum and 
  • Shaping the mindset of the competition before they "shape" us.
The universal traits of all successful strategists is knowing how to do the following:
  • Gameplanning a situation; 
  • Assessing the competition;
  • Scripting an field plan;
  • Preparing the team properly and 
  • Completing the objective regardless of the inertia and the entropy.
The Art and Science of Assessing the Competition
Click here and here on the rudiments for assessing the competition In terms of football.  

Understanding how the competition would respond to certain events as a team is the key to good assessing.  We will touch more on this topic in a future post or in our future book.

After properly assessing the competition, successful strategists started the process of scripting their starting plays.  ... Do you script your tactical moves?

The Art and Science of Scripting
Good gameplan begins by centering oneself  while scripting their starter moves.  This step usually enables the implementers to shape their perspective about their goal.

Click here if you are interested in the basics of scripting one's starter's moves.  It is based on our research on how Bill Walsh  the former SF Forty-Niners coach (Three time Super Bowl Champions) and the late architect of the West Coast Offense system utilized it. 

Some of us are currently working on a book on how to shape the competition through a "starter script (Bill Walsh's 25 Plays Script).".   ... We believed that we will finish it sometime next year (depending on our priorities). 

Beside the introduction of the initial objectives of the script, we will cover the art of shaping the competition and the basics of organizing the starter script.  .. An associate who formerly worked with Coach Walsh, thought that the specifics behind our research were "on target."  

We wanted our first book to be interesting.  Concurrently, we postponed our Sunzi's Strategic Assessment book project because of other priorities and the current mis-conceptualization of Sunzi essay by an assortment of amateur strategists.

Side Notes on Deception and Unethical Subversion
"Win if you could. Lose if you must. But don't get caught cheating."

Click here on how the NBA caught Coach Jason Kidd cheating. Then click here and here on how Coach Tomlin's interfered with the game with a certain gamesmanship maneuver. 

Even some great coaches like Bill Belichick have been known for implementing an unorthodox tactic or two.  In 2007, he was accused of "cheating."

Click here on some of the irregular and slightly underhanded tactics recommended by the late and great Red Auerbach.

Comments From The Compass Desk
The extreme competitive strategists believed that 90% of the "competition" game is succeeding by whatever means necessary.  The other 10% is performing those means under "the radar."

Regardless how the competition is shaped, the essence of their true character will occasionally appear.

# # # 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Regardless of our settings,  it is important to stay centered and be thankful for the many simple things.   ...  Have a good holiday.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Red Auerbach's 57 Strategies ( A Note for the Basketball Fanatics {Especially the Boston Celtics Fans} )

Many years ago, an associate who is a Boston Celtics basketball fanatic, gave us  this interesting book from the great Arnold "Red" Auerbach.  It is titled "Basketball for the Player, the Fan and the Coach." 

On page 189,  the book lists  "57 Strategic Moves," which Auerbach prefaces with this disclaimer: "How many of these you consider ethical or unethical depends entirely on your organization. I am merely listing them as things that can happen." Among the possible moves are:
  • When a player notices an official's indecision as to an out-of-bounds ball, he should run over and pick it up with the full confidence that it is his.
  • If the opposing team has a high scorer, keep reminding the other players of their uselessness because the scorer takes all the shots.
  • Grabbing or pulling the pants or shirt of the opponent can be very aggravating.
  • When the other team is given possession of the ball from an official's decision, don't throw the ball directly to an opponent. The ball should be thrown rather slowly to the official. This will give your men time to get set on defense.
  • Place the scorer's and timer's table near your bench.
  • Wait until the other team has started warming up and then request their basket. This request must be honored away from home.
  • Faking injuries is used for many reasons . . . 
  • Some players may agitate their opponents by incessant chatter, refusing to talk to them at all, or even ridicule
From our experience, gaining the subtle advantage of creating strategic momentum is the essence of these tactics.. Maintaining the strategic momentum throughout the game is the tangible key to a imtegral victory.

Scripting this category of plays in your gameplan is easy. Preparing the principals to implement it, is the challenge.

 "Whenever there is pressure to win on any coach or team you will find men deviating from what is considered the way of good sportsmanship. It is up to the player himself to decide what is 'dirty' and what is 'tricky.' " - Red Auerbach

Comments From The Compass Desk
Some of our associates who have coached competitive basketball and other sports, explained to us on the variations of these deceits and tricks of one-upmanship and how they are implemented in certain situations.  It is up to the coach and the enlightened referees to prevent these tactics from being a distraction

Becoming prepared and being  aware of these possibilities from the practice  session to the end of the game are the keys to preventing your competitor from implementing this unethical approach..

Click here for other unique strategic rules that you could use for certain competitive situations.. 

In summary, the grand objective of the mentioned tactics is to gain any tactical advantage from the "warming up" session of the game to the final seconds of the game by misdirecting the competitor's attention from the actual game.   ...  Conceptually, successful strategists have always try to prevail over their competition with the least amount of effort while flying under the competition's radar. ... Realistically, someone usually have suffered some level of abrasion.  ... Achieving this plateau of minimum effort, means that one must learn how to assess their competition strategically. 

Win if you canlose if you must, but never let your competition prevail over you through unethical subversion.

Compass Rule
Where the attention goes, the energy flows.   Always protect your energy.

Side note 
This book sold over 600,000 copies, not counting the Russian, Polish and Italian editions.


Monday, November 18, 2013

The Art of the Focus: Achieving Centerness and Staying Focused

(update at 13:18:18)

Most of us are surrounded by near-bearable noise regardless of our locale. Occasionally, it interrupts our ability to think strategically.  When the volume of the noise is greater than the bio-signal that is flowing through our brains,  the progress for completing the objective becomes nil.  

Using noise-cancelling headsets  and turning off our mobile devices could only go so far. 

Pragmatic Solution #1
Finding silence and solitude is the name of the game.

Going to coffee shops is not a good idea.  Most of the time, the noise is barely tolerable. It is rare to find a place with zero noise setting.   If you are into the hustle and bustle of a noisy surrounding, go to the coffee shop or your favorite fast food chain. 

Fwiw, most successful strategic thinkers do not strategize at that setting.  It is a productivity killer.

The near-perfect sanctuary is usually that one library and finding that quiet, clean and well-lighted room while avoiding the crowdedness is always a challenge.  An associate who lives in Michigan, recommended a few  interesting "quiet" places located in the University of Michigan.

Pragmatic Solution #2
Our previous posts introduced the importance of staying centered.  Some does it through the practice of Taijiquan, Baguazhang, Xingyiquan, Yi Quan, Liu Hop Ba Fa Quan and Yoga.
To build this state of focused centerness (zhong zheng), one must do the following:
  • Relax while centering your attention to your breathing.
  • Connect to the ground by relaxing the weight of your body downward while centering your attention to the movement
  • Center your breathing to the ground while centering your relaxation and your connection to the ground
  • Calm yourself by minimal movement while centering your attention to your entire being
  • Feel the wholeness of your being while performing the four mentioned "centering" points.  
One knows when he/she has achieved the fundamental stage of this practice by being able to hear their thoughts while working. 

Side Notes
  • Our Cook Ding Kitchen associates ( principals of a martial arts blog)  usually practice a daily 60-70 minutes session of yi quan-based standing exercises.
  • Spending hours on replying to irrelevant emails and texts is also a productivity killer.  It usually disrupt the ebb and flow of the workflow.  
  • If you think that there is a power to becoming quiet, read this book.
We will elaborate more on our unique set of pragmatic practices.

Comments From The Compass Desk

To strategize properly, one must remember that silence is golden. ...  A successful strategist is usually centered and focused.  These attributes enable him to devise a well-planned and prepared strategy while being mindful that proper preparation propels profits. 

Whether you are in a library or out in the streets of New York, stay centered and focused on your objective while being mindful of your settings and beyond. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Profiteering by Assessing the Big Tangible Picture

(updated at 23:33 hr)

If one wants to profit in any of their competitive endeavors, he/she must assess the configuration within the Big Tangible Picture (BTP) and the quality of intelligence that is behind it. 

Understanding this perspective enables one to anticipate future opportunities. It also increase one's chances to  capitalizes on the possible opportunities. 

Introduction to Strategic Assessment
Good strategy assessment begins with good strategic intelligence gathering (through the various means). The amateurs espoused the belief that one can search for tangible and relevant information through the web with a few key words is good enough. They do not realized that the placement of various data on the web can be fixed.

How does one maneuvers through the information society when some aspects of the economy are driven by fabrication and temporary reality?

With so much data, most decision makers (esp. the news media) are usually confused.

Regardless of one's position within the terrain, the successful strategists are usually focused on understanding the certainty of the grand terrain and their positions within it.

The key to good strategic assessment is to match the numeric fundamentals of the terrain to the performance metrics of the targeted competitors.

The successful strategists are usually able to recognize those match ups and conclude what is the tangible truth.  Depending on the situation, they would then utilize it to enhanced their level of strategic power.

One Tangible View on How to 
Assessing Intelligence From Sunzi's Art of War
In a complexity-driven competitive setting, the successful strategist thinks and operates with a strategy. He uses every factors relating to the competitor and the settings to assess his probability of securing a victory.

The first step begins by assessing specific data by the measurements of space, the estimations of influences, the calculations of the numbers within the influences, the weighing of the strength of the numbers and the probability of success.  (This concept is from reading chapter four.)

“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

After assessing the quality of the factors and the quality connectivity within the multiple dots of information, he assesses the quality of information sources behind each decision (concepts from Chapter 13). 

The concluding stage begins when one determines the possibility of success by comparing the data from a results-based perspective. 

The predictability of the situation determine the complexity. The degree of complexity determines the # of steps needed to assess the situation.  When some things look too simple and obvious, deception could be concealed within it.

Another Tangible View of The Art of Assessing Intelligence 
Bob Barnes: Intelligence work isn't training seminars and gold stars for attendance.
Fred Franks: What do you think intelligence work is Bob?
Bob Barnes: I think it's two people in a room and one of them's asking a favor that is a capital crime in every country on earth, a hanging crime.
Fred Franks: No Bob, it's assessing the information gathered from that favor and then balancing it against all the other information gathered from all the other favors. 
- Syriana

The above dialogue was from a deleted scene in this movie "Syriana."

Regardless of the reason, I believe that it was important in terms of understanding how decisions were made at the top level of the echelon. This scene succinctly contrasts the perspective of "the field operator in the trenches" with that of management - a kind of "one man's ceiling is another man's floor" observation.

It also served to reveal that Bob Barnes didn't really have the Big Tangible Picture - indicating that his employer's would be pawning him to their liking. 

People who could view data in terms of levels, attributes, gains and loss, are occasionally able to anticipate certain situations while the field operators could only function limitedly due to their finite perspective of the Big Tangible Picture. 

The Compass View
Good strategic assessment begins with superior strategic intelligence gathering (from the field). It usually take a great deal of time and effort. 

Interestingly, there are not many companies who are willing to do that. Their chief decision makers always preferred to build a presumption-based situation. Then they would create a plan for it. If failure occurs, their corporate assets and their human efforts are wasted. Other people would be blamed for their poor decisions.  Life goes on.

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

In the real world, the successful strategists regularly weighted the relevancy of each intelligence item and the credibility of its source. Then, they balanced it to the principal points within the Big Tangible Picture. These steps always enable them to make a relevant strategic decision.

Successful strategists who believed in the importance of assessing and positioning, followed this Compass rule:

"The time needed to influence your target is inversely proportional to the time that you have spent assessing and positioning."

Side note: There is an exception to that rule. We will elaborate more on that topic in a future post.

To mine the gold or to avoid negative circumstances, one connects the dots. 

To connect the dots, mastering the art and science of assessing strategically is essential.  ... So, how do you assess your Big Tangible Picture?

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