Both Strategy Formulation And Strategy Implementation Are Aspects Of Sun Tzu Art of War – Preempting Rival’s Strategies

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Sun Tzu Art of War – Preempting Rival’s Strategies

The type of attack recommended by Sun Tzu, is to block your enemies’ tactics.

Being able to defeat an enemy without a battle is a manifestation of the highest strategy. The main one is to attack the strategies and plans of the enemies, by disrupting them. The next step is to attack strategic alliances with other nations. The next option is to attack the enemy forces. The worst way is to attack the cities. (Chapter 3, Sun Tzu’s Art of War)

So, how do we get ahead of our competitors’ tactics? In the context of war, first of all, you need to be able to predict your enemy’s movements. Secondly, the reason behind all these moves and thirdly, to come up with a strategy to counter these moves with the least amount of resources. All these things require a lot of intelligence to do.

1) Anticipating your enemy’s moves.

Just by looking at the first step, we have an idea of ​​how difficult it will be. You should have a great first knowledge of your enemy’s advisor group and group strength. Each strategist has his own expertise and preference in employing a specific strategy, some will always prefer to use fire and others will always choose to destroy everything and so on. The reason why group dynamics need to be understood is that each ruler or circle has a favorite expert and it can change over time. Like Liu Bei in the Three Kingdoms Period, he will choose to listen to Zhuge Liang and Cao Cao, also from the Three Kingdoms Period, in his early days, he chooses to listen to Guo Jia. So you need to have all this information at your fingertips in order to be able to predict, as far as possible, the moves that your enemy will take. That is why spy work is so important in ancient times. This importance is seen in the fact that Sun Tzu devotes only one chapter to intelligence (Chapter 13).

2) Knowing the motives behind each enemy’s movements.

The second step is to know why these steps are being taken. This is because you can better understand why these moves are being made and if there is a change in movement or direction in the enemy camp, you can still anticipate to some extent, what they are doing. And you will have a better understanding of what is the weak link in their plans. If you destroy their plans in a weak link, you will stop the acceleration or the successful implementation of their plan.

3) Coming up with a counter strategy that can be done within constraints.

The third step is the issue of working within constraints. Most of us have work under constraints before, for example, enough time, money or sleep. So you would understand what a strategist does to come up with a strategy that should have a high chance of countering the enemy’s move and not cost the nation.

All in all, as mentioned above, it is a war of wisdom. A rational person will always win. And if you are able to thwart your enemy’s plan regularly, chances are that you will be able to defeat them without going to battle because they know that it is useless to fight you because you can ‘attack’ their tactics very well.

So how do we use all of these in business?

To reference the book, Wharton’s Dynamic Competitive Strategy Ed. by George S. Day and David J. Reibstein in Chapter 11.

In the chapter, author Jerry Wind from the Wharton School, Department of Marketing, wrote that avoidance is dangerous because if you expect the wrong move, it can prove costly to you. Like capturing the wrong market that may never materialize it can cost a lot of money to expand capacity and so on.

The first step in creating your first plan, is to be aware of the trends in the market. Technology, consumer preferences, demographics or local trends are other information we can look at before developing our security strategies. Once we know all of these things, we can then figure out which new markets to enter before our business rival does.

For example, Sony anticipated growth in the 3.5-inch disc in 1984, so it announced a fivefold increase in production capacity. It made this move even before IBM announced its goal of the next generation of personal computers. Therefore Sony was able to discourage would-be competitors from setting up their own plants because Sony could mass produce because of the large volume.

Looking for traffic signals from a business competitor

So after determining the trends, the next or related task (depending on your goal) will be to determine how your competitors will react. Now you may say that information like this is hard to find, but if you look carefully, there may be hints or signs that tell you about their intentions.

a) Competitive signals – Do a patent search and see what type of patent your competitors have, you would have a general idea of ​​what technology they are currently developing. Check out the news of the planned strategic alliance. You will be able to guess which area they are moving to.

b) Competitive Analysis – Look at how your competitors have reacted in the past and their strengths and weaknesses. This way, you will have an idea of ​​how your competitors will react to your next move. (Please see point 1 & 2 above)

c) Distribution channels – Look at all available distribution channels, what are their strengths and weaknesses. Combine them with the information you have on your competitors and you may be able to predict what type of distribution channels your competitors may use to attack a potential market.

d) Environmental Analysis – Be aware of changes in environmental forces, such as socio-economic, political, cultural and technological forces. These forces will be useful in formulating your defense plan because as mentioned in the later chapters of Sun Zi Art of War, the general can use environmental or external forces to generate strong momentum to help his troops in attack or defense.

With all this information, you can formulate what your competitors are likely to accept. Make a list of actions that your competitors might take. Using this list, you can create specific countermeasures for each expected or potential move by your competitor.

Factors influencing the formulation of a defense strategy

Please note here that when creating a unique protection plan, there are many things to consider.

a) Your current goals – Does the plan you’ve created align with your company’s current goals? But even if the goals are not met, you can continue to implement your rescue plan without taking your company too far from your path. Do you have to give up your niche market for a while when you’re making a startup plan?

c) External and Internal Environment – Are the current trends in the industry and the market you operate in helping your implementation by empowering or hindering your implementation? What are the risks of changing these habits? Is the organizational structure suitable for the implementation of the plan? Any distortion of roles and responsibilities will create confusion.

b) Size and duration – You need to look at the size and timing of your competitors and your release plan. Will it be temporary or permanent?

c) Costs – Running each plan has its costs. So you have to look at the cost and the size and length of the competitor and your strategy. Is there a need to change equipment from one to another? Do you have the tools to repair or does it take a long time to get the tools? In balancing costs and resources, try to find a partner or partner with whom you will resist, and who can also support you, perhaps to stop a great rival.

e) Level of Risk – Any implementation of a plan involves a certain level of risk. Can your company bear that risk during implementation? Do you have a security pillow? Have you assessed your level of risk correctly? People say that many cooks spoil the broth. Does the implementation of your plan involve many people, which brings me to the next point.

d) Competence and Good Execution – You have the resources but your company is able to execute them well, for example, the skills of your employees and managers or the CEO’s skills such as timing and judgment. How well are your communication and coordination systems designed and operated?

Once you come up with rescue plans, you have to do the whole cycle again, because as I said before, what you can do to others, others can do to you. So you have to anticipate how your opponent will react to your rescue plans and from there make the next level of rescue plans. After several rounds, the actual range of strategies and their ultimate impact will become clear.

The next part will be doing it right and having the backup plans fixed, wherever possible.

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