The Essential Components of Success

Prepared by Dr. Brian Monger

“The art of war is of vital importance …  ”  Sun Tzu

It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

The Highest Form of Victory is to Conquer by Strategy

To win a battle by actually fighting is not the most desirable way.  To conquer the enemy without resorting to war, conquering the enemy by strategy, is the highest, most desirable form of generalship.  The next best form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by alliance.  The next is to conquer the enemy by battle on open ground, The worst form of generalship is to conquer by besieging the enemy in a long drawn out war

a) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.

b) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.

c) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.

d) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.

e) He will win who has the ability and capacity

Victory is Determined Before the Battle Begins

Know the Enemy and Know Yourself

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.

If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle

Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.

Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy. Hence the saying: One may KNOW how to conquer without being able to DO it.

Know your Supporters (and Markets)

The battleground (market place) is not just you and your competitors

The Five Elements of Success

Element 1 The Just Cause

A just cause creates the necessary unity of purpose among the leaders and those led.

The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success.

Element 2 Temporal Conditions

One must understand and accept timing.

Element 3 Local Conditions

Each locale has its advantages and disadvantages.

A similar element is true in business situations.  Every business, every nation, has inherent advantages and disadvantages in the marketplace which it must understand and accept.  It must also understand the strengths and weaknesses of its adversary’s position.

Element 4  Leadership

The commander must be wise, trustful, benevolent, courageous, and strict.

If leaders lack these qualities, they will not receive the support of workers; this in turn WWII lead to low productivity and discontent.

ELEMENT 5  Organisation and Discipline

Organisation and discipline must be thoroughly understood.

Delegation of authority and areas of responsibility within a military or a business organisation must be absolutely clear.  It is the duty of the leader to communicate these things to those who follow.

Wise Tactic –Destroy the Enemy ‘s Alliances, leaving Him Alone

The Five Essential Components of Victory

Sun Tzu says there are five considerations in the preparation for victory:

1.       Know when to fight and when not to fight.

One who understands that there is a season for everything will act with forethought and dispassion instead of succumbing to emotion.

Superiority of numbers or position is not always necessary for victory.  One must know when to match a small force against a large force.

2.       Obtain the wholehearted support of your followers.

One who understands how to obtain the unconditional support of his troops by creating a common objective will have a great advantage over his opponent.

3.       Be well prepared to seize favourable opportunities.

One must sharpen his intuition in order to recognise favourable opportunities and be prepared to seize them.

4.       Free yourself from interference from superiors.

Freedom from interference is essential.  If a general has been chosen well, he will insist on being given the freedom to win the battle.

5.       When the time is tight, act swiftly and decisively.

When the victory is long delayed, weapons will grow dull and morale will drop.  Do not act precipitously, but do not hesitate when the conditions for victory are present.  Delay also has an adverse effect on the productivity of the country.  Weakening the country by waging a protracted war may give another adversary an opportunity to attack successfully.

4 thoughts on “The Essential Components of Success

  1. great reading…. when I think about the content the content, the difference is not far from a good game of poker… but really true!

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