GaryGagliardi's blog

Act While Others Are Planning: Preventing a Hillary Surprise

Sun Tzu teaches that the best time to move into new territory is while others are still thinking about it.  By seizing a position early, you control what others can and cannot do. The same is true when your "move" is simply suggesting what they should do.  Psychologically, opponents will usually refuse to do what you suggest because most would rather be wrong that prove you right.

Doers Versus Talkers: An Unexplored Obama Weakness

Sun Tzu's adaptive response strategy (STARS) has a built in prejudice toward action. Actions are used more than word to evaluate positions. The progress cycle for advancing a position cannot be completed with taking action. One of our continuing topics on this blogs is how American culture is too dominated by talkers in media and politics rather than doers in business and government. Never has this been more clear than in the current presidential race. Obama and Biden are talkers while McCain and especially Palin have been doers.

Claiming an Enemy Position: The McCain Change Message

A basic principle of strategy is that you cannot hope to win a strongly defended position from your opponent. However, this doesn't mean that you cannot win an opponent's position. People too often choose positions that cannot be defended, which is why "aiming" requires choosing positions that can be defended easily. The most dramatic example of this has been the ability of McCain to claim the "change" message from Obama. I was completely wrong a few days ago in criticizing his attempt to do this. Actions speak louder than words.

Self-Destructive Attacks: The Obama Media and Palin

Sun Tzu's method is called "winning without conflict" because the heart of the method is advancing your position while avoiding destructive battles. While all battles are destructive, the most destructive are those attacking an opponent's strong point. As the saying goes, it doesn't matter if the rock hits the pitcher or the pitcher hits the rock, it's going to be bad for the pitcher. When you don't see an opening to move into, you are better doing nothing that simply attacking for the sake of fighting.

Experience is the Great Teacher: Is Palin Experienced Enough?

Though we base our teaching on Sun Tzu's The Art of War, you don't gain skills in strategy (or any other valuable skill) from reading a book. Developing true skill requires experience, which is why our training focuses on exercises in decision-making. However, there is a BIG difference between ten years of experience and one year of experience repeated ten times. For example, take Gov. Palin's experience as governor. Is two years of experience enough? You all know from your own careers that it doesn't take four years to find out if someone can do a job.

Understanding Relative Positions: The Liberal Problem with Palin

The most destructive strategic errors come from misunderstanding an opponent's position. When Sun Tzu writes about deception in the first chapter of The Art of War, the point is that the easiest way to control an opponent is to control their perceptions. The biggest benefit of the Palin pick as VP is that it plays into all the left's misconceptions about traditional values.

Seeing the Opportunity: Gustav and the Republicans

One of our most basic lessons is that opportunities are hard to see because they usually look like problems. A perfect example is the hurricane Gustav coming during the Republican Convention. What an opportunity to make a statement against the overblown self-importance of politicians! Especially if the Republicans want to position themselves as doers rather than just talkers. The best idea I have heard is that the Republicans should use all the people gathered together as the basis of a telethon, to raise money for the storm's victims. Each state could compete for pledges and volunteers.

Redividing the Ground: Palin as VP Pick

Part of Sun Tzu's rules for picking the right battles is knowing how to "divide" the ground. ("You can divide the ground and yet defend it." AOW 6:3:15) We get locked into seeing the ground as fixed and limited, but new ground is constantly being created by the way we divide it. ("Surprise is as infinite as the weather and land." AOW 5:2:5) For example, listening to the Sunday talk shows, the pundits don't seem to realize that Palin redivides the ground in a new way. No, she doesn't get the hard-core Hillary feminist who is pissed at Obama.

Sharpening Positions: Sloppy Positioning By McCain

Positions are clarified or muddied by the words we choose to describe them. You should work on positioning statements over and over until they work effortlessly. The words used to describe values and philosophy are especially critical. For example, on one of Sunday morning new shows McCain said, in describing his reform positions that, "America needs to changing." This is terrible positioning because it feeds his opponent's values. What he should be saying is, "America doesn't need changing. Washington D.C.

Answering a Question about Palin

Politico asks five questions about Palin (via Instapundit). The last one was, "Has she been nice to people on the way up?" As it happens, I have some personal information about that. My brother-in-law, Cliff, worked in Alaska for several years opening clean-and-sober houses for alcoholics and drug addicts. Needless to say, one of the biggest problems he had was dealing with neighbors who don't want a half-way house next door.


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