Monday, March 31, 2014

Profiting in the Info. Economy by Understanding the Tangibility Behind The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China

Unless you are a field expediter who is obsessed with the field action, learn to view the information economy by understanding the profiles of the competition. It will assist you in your quest to succeed. 

"Do not play the plays. Play the player."   - Anonymous Poker Player

Seven Military Strategy Classics 
In ancient China, one of the pseudo famous secrets of the Chinese strategy game is to understand the integration of Jiang Tai Gong's Six Secret Teachings and Huang Shek Gong's  "Three Strategies" Classic.

Six Secret Teachings 
The Six Secret Strategic Teachings (六韬) was a treatise on military strategy attributed to the legendary figure Jiāng Zǐyá, a confederate of King Wen of Zhou, founder of the Zhou Dynasty. It is considered one of ancient China's Seven Military Classics.
The Six Strategies can be explained as follows:
1. The Civil Strategy: Never delight in small advantages or that is all you will achieve. The greatest gains result from benevolence and helping others achieve their aspirations for a better world.
2. The Military Strategy: Win with a benevolent purpose and with guile/wit, preferably without actually fighting. You can outwit a competitor through diplomacy and manipulation.
3. The Dragon Strategy: Explore the subtle and complex aspects of the situation without losing control to advisors or becoming confused. Government depends on a centralized and orderly overview which must be well informed.
4. The Tiger Strategy: You must guard against laxity and act in accord with ever-changing conditions. You must observe the effects and interactions of variables such as weather, terrain, and human psychology.
5.The Leopard Strategy: Know your strength and direct it against the weakness of your enemy.
6. The Dog Strategy: Never attack an enemy when his morale is high. Time a concentrated attack when the moment is right.

The  Three Strategies of Huang Shi Gong 
The Three Strategies of Huang Shigong (黄石公三略) is a text on military strategy, one of the Seven Military Classics of ancient China.
History and authorship
Like the Six Secret Teachings, the Three Strategies is commonly attributed to Jiang Ziya, also known as Taigong. However, four other theories on the origins of the work have been put forth. The first is that the text was actually written and compiled by later followers of Taigong, rather than by the man himself. Another theory is that Huang Shigong himself may have written the text. Conservative classical scholars have declared the book a forgery. The final view is that the text was written around the end of the Former Han Dynasty by a reclusive follower of the Huang-Lao school of thought.
As its title would suggest, the Three Strategies of Huang Shigong is organized into three sections, which can be interpreted as a hierarchy of importance or as simple indicators of position in the work. The work itself states that all three types of strategy are necessary for different styles of government. Much of the work is concerned with administrative control, but some important tactical concepts are also developed. Generals are placed in a high position, and must be unquestioned once they assume command. Attacks should be swift and decisive.
There are three points which should be mastered:
1. Alternate hard and soft approaches. This means a leader must be both benevolent and awe-inspiring according to what is appropriate. This links to the second principle-
2. Act according to the actual circumstances. Avoid responses which are based on imagination, memory of the past, or habits acquired in other circumstances. You must rely only on observation and perception and be willing to modify plans at any time.
3.Employ only the capable. This requires an accurate insight into others.
Each of these principles have deep and various implications.

Side Note
For strategic project management (Agile/Lean) purposes, we re-interpreted those three points. 
  1. Assess the configuration of the strategic situation in terms of +'s and -'s
  2. Conclude the decision by balancing the assessment and the tangibility of the information behind the strategic situation
  3. Implement the choice that offers the greatest impact of efficiency.

The Compass Challenge 
“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)

Do you understand how to frame the categorized information by using the macro variables from those two mentioned strategic classics and the Art of War?

Understanding this unique skill could enable you to gain the advantage on anticipating your competitor's next move.  

The Compass Reminder
Anticipate two steps forward while moving one step ahead of the competition is the daily approach of the successful strategist. The motives behind that tactic should be obvious.

Those who could achieve that,are able to avoid the race to the bottom.

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