Lets begin this post with the question. ...
It is an interesting question for those who are competitive. Now, click here for part one of the answer (It offered the perspective from the Art of War and another viewpoint from the game of Go (Weiqi).)
The Next to the Final Stage of the Answer
This is not a game theory situation, where there is a direct contest between two principals and everything is near-obvious.
In a competitive situation where there are many pertinent strategic and tactical factors.
Finding what relevant factors is in play is the challenge.
Depending on the quality of information and the number of participating competitors, the situation could become quite complex.
The clues to this approach can be found in the first two sections of Jiang Tai Gong (JTG's) Six Secret Teachings and chapter one of the Art of War.
Step One: Understand the scope of the situation.
By being two steps ahead of the game, the successful strategists can play the Jiang Tai Gong approach of pre-positioning and luring.
You can find a good example in the 2010's Samurai movie classic "The 13 Assassins" where the protagonists knew the route, the strategic power and the tendencies of their target.
Then, they altered their target's grand setting for the purpose of influencing him toward their lethal trap while transforming other portions of their own setting for the purpose of gaining a higher state of strategic power.
Unlike what the Cult of the Art of War espouses to their followers, one cannot learn this skill from reading the Art of War. It offers to the novices a mere glimmer of hope. As many of us know, that the attribute of hope is not a strategy or a destination.
Retrospectively one needs a methodology that offers an overview that depicts the connectivity and the tangibility of their situation. ... A good methodology emphasizes on the practice of assessing, positioning and influencing.
The Practice of Strategic Assessment
Good strategic assessment begins by knowing the Big Tangible Picture of each principal in terms of their objectives, their approaches, the means and the modes. ... Understanding the complexity, the connectivity, the consistency and the continuity of a Big Tangible Picture are some of the key points to a good strategic assessment.
Those who are competitively ambitious, could build this exotic skill through the game of Go (weiqi) where misdirecting and luring are the norms. He or she might get lucky in understanding the mechanics of these grand concepts after playing a minimum of 10 thousand games.
So, how did we learned this unique concept? We spent numerous hours talking to the various "no-name" experts who indirectly revealed their views on strategy to us. ... Humorously, those who know, don't really say. ... They have only offered their hints to us through their stories and their actions. After awhile, we built the skillset of knowing what are the factors behind any strategic situation and how they all connect in certain situations.
Q: So, do you know how to be strategically two steps ahead of your competition?