1. Win all without fighting
    Capturing your market without destroying it
  2. Avoid Strength/Attack Weakness
    Striking where they least expect it
  3. Deception and foreknowledge
    Maximizing the power of market information
  4. Speed and preparation
    Moving swiftly to overcome your competitors
  5. Shape your opponent
    Employing strategy to master the competition
  6. Character-based leadership
    Providing effective leadership in turbulent time

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1. Win all without fighting
Capturing your market without destroying it

  • Prioritize markets and determine competitor focus
  • To win all without fighting you must first decide which markets you want to win and whom you must defeat in those markets to do so. Therefore, in this step, you must first prioritize your markets and then select a competitor in those markets on whom to focus your efforts.

2. Avoid Strength/Attack Weakness
Striking where they least expect it

i.e: WWI and II, Germans avoiding French Armies

  • Attacking psychological weaknesses
    • The supreme excellence in war is to attack the enemy’s plans
    • Next best is to disrupt his alliances
    • The next best is to attack his army
    • The worst policy is to attack cities
    • Anger his general and confuse him
    • Keep him under strain and wear him down
  • Develop attacks against competitor’s weakness
  • Once you’ve selected a competitor to focus on, you must determine that firm’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as understanding your own. Prioritize your competitor’s weaknesses by elevating in importance those weaknesses that, if attacked successfully, would severely unbalance your competitor. Take the 4 most critical weaknesses and develop 2 to 3 potential attacks against each that could be used successfully.

3. Deception and foreknowledge
Maximizing the power of market information

  • Foreknowledge
  • Know your competition
  • Know yourself
  • Utilizing Information Technology
  • Knowing your market
  • Deception
    • It is not enough to know yourself, the business terrain, and your competitor. The other side of the equation is ensuring that your competition is unable to know you. This is where deception comes in.

i.e: Trojan horse

  • If the competitors do not know where you will attack next, they will be confused and unable to respond effectively. They waste resources by allocating them incorrectly and it creates spots to attack by making its management unsure of your intentions.
  • Wargame and plan for surprise
    Now use your knowledge of your competitor to wargame each attack, playing out the moves and countermoves that could occur. It is especially important to forecast how your competitor might leverage its strengths in a counterattack. As you wargame your attacks, think through how you might achieve surprise against your competitor by disguising the attacks with deceptive moves.

4. Speed and preparation
Moving swiftly to overcome your competitors

“Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack”

  • Speed surprises and shocks the competition
  • Reducing Cycle time
  • Scenario planning and wargaming
  • Ready your attacks and release them
  • Determine what preparations are required for successfully executing your integrated set of attacks, your strategy. Then, execute your attacks with speed and shckpower.

i.e: Napoleon, WWII

5. Shape your opponent
Employing strategy to master the competition

  • First put together all you have learned so far. You must know the situation
  • Then you must be able to deceive your competitor as to your plans. And do so with
  • blinding speed.
  • Using bait to shape your competitor
  • Holding strategic positions
  • Leaving a way out
  • Avoid being shaped
  • Integrate best attacks to unbalance your competition
  • This is the point to select the one or 2 key weaknesses of your competitor that you will exploit. The results of your wargaming will provide the insight to do so and will also assist you in deciding which set of attacks to utilize and how they can be integrated for maximum impact on your competitor. This becomes your strategy.
  • Alliances
    • prevent your competitors from combining to oppose you
    • if powerful alliances exist, avoid attacking them
    • if you must attack, first separate your competitor from his allies
    • make skillful use of your own allies
    • do not choose the wrong allies
    • know how to maintain an alliance and when to end one

6. Character-based leadership
Providing effective leadership in turbulent time

  • build your character, not just your image
  • lead with actions, not just words
  • share employee’s trials, not just their triumphs
  • motivate emotionally, not just materially
  • assign clearly defined missions to all, avoiding mission overlap and confusion
  • make your strategy drive your organization, not the reverse
  • Reinforce success, starve failure
  • Support your strategy with prompt action, determining quickly which attacks are succeeding and which are not. Ruthlessly reinforce success and starve failure.

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Based on the book Sun Tzu and The Art of Business written by Mark McNeilly