One thing that I have found to be a constant in the offices of business leaders, politicians, and military generals is the study of Sun Tzu and his classic The Art of War and his western equivalent Karl von Clausewitz and his historic tome On War. It has been appropriately said that Karl Von Clausewitz’s work “remains the most prominent single contribution to shape of the modern military strategy in Europe and the United States.”
Military tacticians and strategists have for years studied these tomes and only recently have key aspects such as “strategic planning” and “corporate warfare” been mentioned and studied in the top business schools around the globe. As a student of military science I was taught the nine basic cornerstones of military tactics and strategy. Whether a Navy Captain, Army Sergeant, Air Force General, Marine “devil dog”, you understand these nine principals and how you must use them with your unit or battle system to achieve success during an engagement.
It has become very prevalent however to see these principles applied to the business world by top executives to achieve success. The Japanese auto makers and their executives are world renowned for the study of Sun Tzu and applying his principles within their business paradigm. Their success has been nothing short of astounding!
What are these nine principles of military science that are studied by military generals and executives alike? They are…maneuver, objective, offense, surprise, economy of force, mass, unity of command, simplicity, and security. Leadership is critical in the execution of these nine principles. Without it, Marshal Foch stated that, “No battle and no victory is possible.” Leadership is the quintessential element needed to be successful. In coming weeks and months I will highlight these particular principles from both a military and business viewpoint.
Below are a few of my favorite quotes from military strategists. These quotes convey wisdom both success on the battlefield and in the international business world when used appropriately.
“In war, numbers alone confer no advantage.”
“He whose ranks are united in be victorious.”
“Never interrupt an enemy while he is making a mistake.”
“Speed is the essence of war!”
“Surprise lies at the foundation of all military undertakings.”
Karl von Clausewitz
“It is not gold but good soldiers that insure success in war.”