Consistent Success Is Not an Accident

While anyone can get lucky, consistent success is always a matter of understanding Sun Tzu's strategy. While learning strategy from Sun Tzu is a nice shortcut, you can also learn the same principles from painful trial and error or by studying history, as Sun Tzu himself did. If someone is consistently successful, they will always espouse basic strategic principles that most people don't understand. For example, in this recent interview, Roger Ailes of Fox News fame, explains how he will overcome the headstart of CNBC in starting his new business network. In doing so, he unknowingling references several strategic principles. First, he talks about the fact that size is not the same as power:
Mr. Ailes: Well, if you study history, the victories did not always go to the people with the great resources. [Confederate Gen.] Stonewall Jackson seemed to be undermanned in every campaign and won. [Union Gen. George] McClellan had plenty of resources in every fight and lost. That isn't always what matters....They're winning -- because they're a monopoly. They're winning the same way CNN was winning when we came on the scene with Fox News....Once you have competition, it's a different kind of fight.
About the uncertainties of climate and the difference between strategy and planning:
Mr. Ailes: I never predict offensive goals. I think that was Israel's problem in Lebanon. Look, there are too many variables: Is there going to be a recession? Will that affect the ratings on either channel? Will CNBC suddenly get better? Will something work out with The Wall Street Journal? Will we be better than expected? Is it going to rain?...
And perhaps his best advice:
Mr. Ailes: The strategy is to get it out of the dumper. We tried something, which was a spectacular failure. Failure is never permanent unless you accept it. That type of programming didn't work, so we got rid of it, and we started other things.