Apr 23 2011
Recently my team made a presentation on SWOT matrix, an analytical tool to generate strategies for a company by matching among its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
To make it more interesting and applicable, we related the presentation to The Art of War (孫子兵法) authored by ancient strategist in China called Sun Tzu (孫子). Here are a few quotes taken from the book of wisdom in warfare to apply to the business world.
Translation – The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.
Explanation – Those companies and individuals who win in the business world make much calculation, planning and deliberations on their strategy and plans. Those who plan less have lower chance of success, much less those who don’t plan anything at all!
Translation – If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt.
Explanation – Success comes first from knowing our own business well, including its strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of the competitors. Understanding this does not guarantee success, but it gives us foreknowledge into our chance of success.
Translation – If you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.
Explanation – Knowing our self and the competitors is not enough. The environments in terms of opportunities and threats need to be understood too. We can be good, but if the timing is not right, our effort will be in vain.
Translation – In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack – the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.
Explanation – There are only two kinds of attack, namely normal and ordinary one (direct) and the unusual and extraordinary one (indirect). But the combination of both opens door to endless permutations of strategies we can take.
Translation – In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.
Explanation – There is no use to analyze and over-analyze the situation until we get into analysis paralysis. We must act with our gut and intuition, despite incomplete information, after reasonable amount of analysis has be done. The objective of a business war is in the victory, not prolonging the process.
Do you see how The Art of War may apply to your business or life situation too?