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Sun Tzu The Art of War for Managers

50 Strategic Rules

Gerald A. Michaelson

Laying Plans
Thoroughly Assess Conditions Compare Attributes Look For Strategic Turns

Thoroughly Assess Conditions

Moral Influence Weather Vision & Mission Outside Influences

Command Doctrine

Leadership Core Beliefs

Compare Attributes
Which side is managed by those who have established meaningful objectives? Which people have the most ability? Which side can take best advantage of current conditions? Which side has better discipline?

Compare Attributes
Which side is stronger? Which side is better trained? Which side is better motivated?

Look for Strategic Turns

Go beyond ordinary rules Search for advantages Find favorable strategic conditions

Examine the situation thoroughly

Look for Strategic Turns

Do the unexpected Build your own strengths Continuously analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition

Waging War
Marshal Adequate Resources Make Time Your Ally Everyone Must Profit From Victories Know Your Craft

Marshal Adequate Resources

When resources are depleted and cannot be replenished, the organization goes bankrupt.

Make Time Your Ally

Victory is the main objective Those who are adept do not require additional resources Those who do not understand the dangers do not understand how to make advantageous use of resources

When the Operation Takes Too Long

Resources may be depleted Weapons are blunted Morale is depressed

Your opponents will take advantage of your distress

You Must Profit from Victories

When others go out of business, profit by acquiring their physical and human resources

Win by acquiring competitors and making good use of their people in the new organization structure

Know Your Craft

The objective is winning, not spending time. The leaders who truly understand their business control the battle and achieve victory.

Attack By Stratagem
Win Without Fighting Strength Against Weakness Always Beware of High Level Dumb

Obey Fundamental Principles

Win Without Fighting

Consider making opponents into allies The best victories are those than can be won without conflict Attack strategies, disrupt alliance, but do not attack strengths

Strength Against Weakness - Always

The greater your strength compared to your opponent, the greater the chances for winning

If resources are equally matched, fight only if you have special abilities Small cannot defeat large, nor the weak versus the strong

Beware of High Level Dumb

Those not at the scene of action dont know whats going on & shouldnt give orders Business should be managed by those with extensive experience in that business Rules established at headquarters might not apply to every distant operation

Obey Fundamental Principles

Where you have superiority, use one strategy; where you are weak, use another Seek those actions that have a high unity of purpose Be prepared for contingencies Headquarters should be careful of interfering

Disposition of Military Strength

Be Invincible Attain Strategic Superiority Use Information to Focus Resources

Be Invincible
What you do determines whether you are defeated What your opponent does determines whether you can win Because you know how to win does not mean you will win

Be Invincible
When you have insufficient strength, you must defend When you have an overabundance of strength, attack Tactics used in the defense are different from those used in the attack

Attain Strategic Superiority

The best strategy is to win without fighting Achieving victory while avoiding conflict requires skillful insight and forethought The winning leader strictly adheres to method and discipline

Use Information Focus Resources

Understand your opponents position and strength Consider where you have relative superiority Plan to attain overwhelming superiority at a decisive point Build the force of momentum

Use of Energy
Build a Sound Organization Structure Apply Extraordinary Force Coordinate Momentum and Timing

Apply Extraordinary Force

Keep your opponent confused concerning routes of attack Plan the impact of the very strong against the very weak Use normal force to engage; extraordinary force to win

Coordinate Momentum & Timing

Your actions must have the energy of momentum and take place at the most advantageous time

Whether there is order amidst apparent confusion depends upon organization When planning creates favorable circumstances, you have high morale

Weakness and Strength

Take the Initiative Plan Surprise

Gain Relative Superiority

Seek Knowledge Be Flexible

Take the Initiative

Those who occupy the field of battle first and await their enemy are at ease Those who come later to the scene and rush into the fight are weary Those skilled in war bring the enemy to the battlefield and are not brought there by their opponent

Plan Surprise
When at ease, make your opponent weary When well fed, starve your opponent

When at rest, make your opponent move

Appear where your opponent must hasten Move swiftly where not expected

Gain Relative Superiority

The enemy must not know where I intend to give battle One who has few must prepare against the enemy One who has many makes the enemy prepare against him or her

Seek Knowledge
Victory can be created Stir the enemy & determine his patterns Probe to learn strengths & weaknesses

Determine the enemys plans and we know whether our plan will work

Be Flexible
While you shape your opponent, do not let him or her discern your shape Strategies do not change with the times Change strategies when they become too obvious As water has no constant form, there are no constant conditions

Maneuver to Gain the Advantage Achieve the Critical Mass

Deceive Your Competitor

Develop Effective Internal Communication Gain the Mental Advantage

Maneuver to Gain Advantage

Make the devious route the most direct Turn misfortune into advantage Use deception

Make changes to confuse your opponent

Achieve the Critical Mass

Gather all of your resources and you will be late Advance without enough resources and you may lose them all Know the situation and use the help of others who have had the same experience

Gain the Mental Advantage

Preserve your resources for the main effort Do not fight battles you cannot win

Adapt quickly to changes in the circumstances Do not press a desperate opponent too hard

Variation of Tactics
Consider Tactical Options Prepare Adequate Defenses Avoid the Faults of Leadership

Consider Tactical Options

Understand the mission, gather resources, and concentrate the offensive Use attorneys and others to make trouble for your opponent To gain advantage, consider what the opponent would do to gain the advantage

Avoid the Faults of Leadership

Bravery can lead to recklessness and destruction Being overly cautious leads to cowardice and defeat Worry leads to blunders and bad reactions Anger leads to temper with vulnerability to insults

On the March
Occupy Strong Natural Positions Always Seek the High Ground Make an Estimate of the Situation

Discipline Can Build Allegiance

Occupy Strong Natural Positions

Keep close to resources that fortify your strengths Position yourself so that your opponent has a disadvantage Keep your opponent from taking advantage of available natural strengths

Always Seek the High Ground

Be concerned for the health of your people Fight downhill Do not occupy imperiled positions; let your opponent do that

Estimate the Situation

Study the actions and moods of your opponents people Treat every opponent as a threat Watch for signs that tell you what your opponent is doing

Discipline Can Build Allegiance

Treat your people with humanity Instill a sense of discipline Trust and confidence must be mutual otherwise, it does not exist

Know Your Battlefield Obey the Laws of Leadership Fight Only the Battles You Can Win

Know Yourself; Know Your Opponent

Know Your Battlefield

Arrive early and get the best positions Develop strengths in narrow niche markets Attack only those segments weakly defended Distant markets can be difficult to serve

Obey the Laws of Leadership

When instructions are clear, everyone will act with confidence; if unclear, every action will be disorganized When leaders are unable to accurately estimate the overall situation, the result will be bankruptcy

Fight Only Battles You Can Win

Know how to estimate the strength of your opponent Retreat from bad situations Be shrewd in calculating dangers and difficulties Use the strength of natural positions

The Nine Varieties of Ground

Choose a Favorable Battleground Shape Your Opponents Strategy Make Victory the Only Option Plan Coordinated Efforts Press the Attack Learn Winning Ways

Choose a Favorable Battleground

Do not fight internally When progress is difficult, keep on the offensive When outnumbered, resort to strategy Fight courageously when desperate

Shape Your Opponents Strategy

Seize the initiative so you can keep your opponent on the defensive Speed is essential; move rapidly and miss no opportunity Disrupt your opponents cooperation, internal communication, morale and cohesion

Make Victory the Only Option

Fighting for survival assures unity Devise winning plans and actively solicit new resources The skillful tactician accepts the attack in one area and strikes back in another

Plan Coordinated Efforts

Foster actions that encourage internal cooperation Set high standards for performance Do not rely on the physical to win; victory comes only from a tenacious team united in purpose

Press the Attack

Keep people united Manage calmly Be just and maintain order

Understand there are things not to say publicly; this would aid the opponent

Attack By Fire
Be Disruptive and Intrusive Consolidate Your Gains Exercise Restraint

Be Disruptive & Intrusive

Use the most decisive weapons available Be an entrepreneur in developing your offensive Disrupt your opponent and intrude into that disruption

Consolidate Your Gains

Reinforce successful efforts Exploit opportunities that arise Encourage & reward the spirit of enterprise

Lay plans carefully & take action

Exercise Restraint
Attack only when you see an advantage Do not attack to satisfy your own anger Losses cannot be recovered

Be prudent and do not take rash actions

Employment of Secret Agents

Invest in Intelligence Resources Establish an Active Intelligence System Practice Counterintelligence

Invest in Intelligent Resources

Major efforts require major resources; expect opposition from those who are burdened by this Small sums can bring big results Allocate resources necessary to gain the information you will need

An Active Intelligence System

Good information is critical to success Beware of those who can only give opinions Develop a network that can provide information Invite those who can be a source of information