Economic

What Isn't Changing in the 21st Century

At the Institute, we are currently building a presentation on the current financial crisis and its connection to longer-term trends in the economy. We believe that certain fundamental things about business are changing and that only those organizations than can adapt to them will survive.

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Work/Life Balance (homeostasis)

I never really understood the "work/life" balance agenda. I assume it relates more to homeostasis than actual balance. If this is true, then by definition it simply means to self-regulate in a way that keeps conditions uniform. It would be like a life thermostat.A thermostate keeps your house the same tempurature inside no matter what's going on outside. Therefore, work/life balance should assure that your standard of living (whatever that means to you) stays the same regardless of the changing climate (Sun Tzu's "heaven").

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Corporate Training in Times of Economic Crisis

As we enter a period of economic crisis and challenge, the role of corporate training must change to adapt. In this article, we explore both the problems and the opportunities created by the impending economic recession for corporate training departments. If corporate training department try to continue business as usual, they will find themselves downsized and many of their trainers will find themselves out of work.

Competitive Arenas: 

Obama displays how to use emotion in a negotiation- Sun Tzu style

When engaged in a negotiation, emotion plays a clear role. Debates are a form of negotiation. In the 3rd and final debate of this presidential season we see this dynamic at work. Sun Tzu spoke to dealing with opposing generals according to their weaknesses. John McCain is by his own accord a "fighter" and a "maverick". Is this a strength? Yes, and no.

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Evaluting a New Position Before Moving: Example of Bad Tax Policy

Before moving to a new position, Sun Tzu's strategy teaches that you have to evaluate that position from the perspective of where it leads. The idea is that we don't want to get into a position that is either hard to defend or from which it is difficult to escape in the future. Unfortunately, in reacting to events, most people are not in the habit of thinking about the next move just getting out of their current situation. This is especially true of the political class.

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Clear Opportunity: Opposing Bailout

Good strategy means looking and using obvious opportunities rather than looking for opportunities that are subtle and clever. The amazing thing about real life is that people overlook the most obvious opportunities, almost purposely avoiding moving into openings simply because no one else is moving into them. Of course, an opening is defined by the fact no one is moving into it, but our herd instinct works against good strategy.

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The Limits of Control: Why Bailouts Don't Work

One of the foundations of Sun Tzu's system is that we have to adapt to environment because we cannot control it. I have written extensively about the illusion of control in many posts, especially the mistaken idea that the government is god and can rewrite the rules of nature at will. This has failed every time it has been attempted. As long as our political candidates feel they need to perpetuate the illusion of government control, we are the worse for it. While Wall Street rose briefly on the news of the government bailout, you cannot hold back the tide.

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Stages of the Campaign: Where does the presidential race stand?

Sun Tzu's strategy defines nine common strategic situations to which we must respond. They are defined as types of terrain: scattering, easy, disputed, open, intersecting, dangerous, bad, confined, and deadly. Each requires a specific response. Right now, the two candidates are in very different stages in their campaigns. McCain is on an intersecting terrain, which means that he has the opportunity to solidify alliances. Obama is on bad terrain, which means there are a lot of pitfalls that he must avoid. Needless to say, you want to be on the former, rather than the later.

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