The top-down world is history. Our future is in a networked world. In the past, the strategy was to please your boss. Now we have to please a large network of people. Sun Tzu's rules prepares us for living in this new age.
An understanding of the rules of competitive decision-making grows more important everywhere every day both for individuals and at every level of every organization. Globalization and the communication revolution are reshaping how we work and how we relate to one another. Our world is emerging the industrial age into the information age world. This new world demands decision constant making about how to adapt to a the dynamic environment.
One of Sun Tzu's basic rules is that change creates opportunity. The opportunity here comes from the fact that this new world is bringing us more and more choices and more and more connections, but the challenges is that all these choices require adaptive not linear decision-making. Adaptive thinking is no longer a luxury but a necessity.
From Directed Work to Decision Work
In our changing world, we are judged less and less on our willingness and ability to follow orders. Instead, the research shows that employers are expecting us to make more and more decisions ourselves *. As decision workers, our success depends increasingly on the quality of our decisions. The quality of our decisions depends on understanding our situation and how to use opportunities in the environment.
From Planning to Everyday Decisions
The research also shows that executing strategy* is less and less about long-term planning and more and more about making better decisions every day. We have the same problems executing our personal strategy that businesses have executing corporate strategy. A recent study into the execution of corporate strategy concluded:
"Execution is the result of thousands of decisions made every day by employees acting according to the information they have and their own self-interest."
Most of us still have linear expectations in an adaptive world. In a linear world, we fell in love, got married, had children, raise those children together, and grew old together. In a dynamic world, we can no longer take relationships for granted. If we don't constantly work to advance them, they simply fall apart.
Despite the wealth of opportunities in our more dynamic world, more and more people are stuck in their linear thinking, trying to find a direction. More and more people fail to make progress and instead are simply buffeted around in an increasingly turbulent world.
From Internal Efficiency to External Effectiveness
In today's world, the latest research shows that real strategy is no longer determined from the top down but created from the bottom up*. Even the largest organizations must continually adapt to their environment to survive Increasingly, organizations depends on your front-line decisions. Sun Tzu's strategy is set on the front lines long before it is officially recognized by headquarters. The difference between success and failure is your front-line ability to recognize and leverage new opportunities.
If you are still using linear thinking in this increasingly adaptive world, you are going to find yourself less and less successful over time. Become a member today if you want to prepare yourself for today's world.