Positions are the starting and ending point of good decision-making. The five factors provided by the Art of War for defining positions allow us to understand the complete nature of relative positions and this map helps us discover the path between our current position and a better one. Our natural reflex is to look at positions too narrowly. We must retrain our reflexes to see them more broadly.
For example, let us take a non-partisan look at the positions in the current US presidential race now that the two candidates are chosen.
1. Philosophy: Obama has the clearer, simpler message (CHANGE/HOPE) and consistently connects his issues to this message.
2. Climate: The medium-term trends (years) between parties and short-term trends (months) clearly favor Obama after having a Republican president for eight years.
3. Ground: The ground clearly favors McCain since the Democratic party is seriously divided and McCain is well positioned to take advantage of that division.
4. Character: The element of character clearly favors McCain because he is better known, respected, and trusted.
5. Methods: The element of methods clearly favors Obama who is a better speaker, has the support of the media, and a much, much better organization.
At this point, the balance is in Obama's favor, with philosophy, climate, and methods in his favor.