Action Decisions

Actions Speak Louder the Words: Future Energy

Sun Tzu teaches that we listen to people to learn their plans, but that we judge their words by actions. The world has always been divided between doers and talkers. While our modern media is dominated by those who do the talking, the future is being created by those who are busy doing. A good example is what is happening on the energy/global warming front. A great summary is offered by this article in Forbes. While politicians talk about non-carbon energy, the world of doers is embracing it.

Save the World: Stop Eating!

Sun Tzu's strategy was developed because it is so easy to lose touch with reality. How easy? In this earlier post, I compared the idea that we can stop using oil to the idea equally silly idea that to save the environment, we must stop eating. Apparently, this wasn't as much of a parody as I thought. Today, I see this report from ABC news telling us that to save the earth we must stop eating. Or make a start anyway by stop eating beef.

Predicting the Future: A Landslide for McCain?

Sun Tzu's strategy teaches the predicting the future is very dangerous. The most important aspect of competition cannot be predicted. Most events are unexpected and what really matters is knowing how to react to them. Recently this article predicting a landslide for McCain got a lot of attention but its main thesis is simply that there is a lot of time left for Obama's arrogance to create opportunities.

Adjusting to Situations: Military versus Politicians

The more things change, the more they are the same. A recent ABC news poll of commanders on the ground in Iraq, the commanders echo Sun Tzu. Quoting Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond in Sadr City:
"Instead of any time-based approach to any decision for withdrawal, it's got to be conditions-based..."
How long have politicians been getting this idea wrong. 2,500 years ago, Sun Tzu said:
"The army's position is made more difficult by politicians in three different ways. Ignorant of the whole army’s inability to advance, they order an advance.

Independence and Dependence: You and Government

Sun Tzu's methods leverage forces in the environment to your advantage. We must use those forces but we are independent from them because we can choose our responses. Even if the winds are blowing against us, we can go where we want if we know how to tack correctly. During my appearance on a radio show (WSBA, York, PA) this morning, the host, Gary Sutton, pointed out that John McCain missed an teaching opportunity in commenting on Sen. Gramm's "nation of whiners" statement.

Speed and Direction: Advantage Obama

As Sun Tzu said, speed is often the essence of war. Short, quick movements are often the key to success. Even if they go in the wrong direction, they cannot go to far wrong if you quickly correct your course. One of the primary reasons I give Obama the advantage in the current presidential race is his methods are clearly superior, especially in the case of using speed. The disadvantage of speed is that hHe makes many more mistakes than McCain, but he also quickly corrects them.

Attack Weak Points, Not Strong: Wesley Clark's Mistake

Sun Tzu's strategy teaches that you attack the weak points not the strong points of your opponent. Politicians (and business people) make this mistake constantly, but military people usually know better. Wesley's Clark's recent criticism of McCain's military service demonstrates that he is more of a politician than a strategist. What can be gain by attacking McCain on the basis of his resume? Such attacks only draw attention to Obama's much weaker resume, especially in regards to being commander-in-chief of the military.

The Pace of Change as a Business and Political Weapon

Climate is the strategic factor that Sun Tzu associates with change, but change itself can change, for example, technology has rapidly increased the pace of change over the last few decades. This increase in the pace of change is one of the key reasons why people need to better understand the principles of Sun Tzu so they can make better decisions faster. Businesses who want to leverage the increasing pace of change against their opponents should be promoting Sun Tzu's ideas about adaptability to their customers.

Natural Systems: Stopping Change

Like most classical scientists, Sun Tzu sought to understand nature. Though he studied was human competition, he saw competition natural not a human artifact. Though human institutions are artificial because we create them, we do not create and cannot change the nature of competition itself. Whether we applaud it or hate it, one of the things that cannot stop is change. In watching this very entertaining video by Drew Carey ON Free Trade and


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