In business, we are always seeking guidance and direction. The complex nature of business leads us to look for frameworks and philosophies that will inform our decision-making.
The Origins of Strategy
"War is a clash between major interests....Rather than comparing it to art we could more accurately compare it to commerce, which is also a conflict of human interests and activities."
Sun Tzu & The Art of War
Winning Without Fighting
One of Sun Tzu's primary principles is to win without fighting. While this may seem counter-intuitive, an in-depth look at the concept reveals some elegant insights.
"Battles are dangerous affairs."
"He who struggles for victory with naked blades is not a good general."
Contrast this with the ancient Chinese game of Go. In a game of Go, each side works to capture terrain with his pieces. At the end of the game, the board is full of pieces, with the winner holding more terrain than the loser. While it is possible to capture an opponent's pieces in Go by surrounding them, this is a secondary objective to that of capturing and holding terrain.
The comparison between these games is an excellent illustration of the idea that there are different ways to win, and the superior way is usually to do so without direct conflict that results is losses of resources in order to win - a Pyrrhic victory.
The Art of War Applied to Business
Blue Ocean Strategy
This strategy concept is an approach to winning without fighting. The idea of opening up a new market space and creating new demand are ways of growing revenue without engaging directly with your competition.