Strategy Institute

Recognizing Limiting Situations

Do you recognize a limiting situation and know how to manage it? One of the nine common strategic situation, a limiting position is vulnerable because it depends on a limited base of support. You move into a limiting position only when you have no other option AND you can keep your situation a secret because limiting positions are easy to attack.

A Big Perspective on Trends

While we refer to our era as "the information age," when you read Sun Tzu, you realize that 2,500 years ago, people realized that information was the key to everything. Technology has accelerated the capture, movement, storage, and duplication of information, but this recent article from Freeman Dyson about biotech as the medium of information is. Read it all! I find this article reshaping all my views about our future.

The Perfect Society, Danger, and Discovery

Perhaps there has never been revealing future than the one envisioned by Aldous Huxley in his book Brave New World written seventy-five years ago (described in this New Atlantis article). In it, Huxley describes a world where the only goal of society is the perfect happiness of its citizens. However, in reading his description of that society, we are left with a feeling of horror, emptiness, and dread.

The Subjective Part of a Position: The Story

The military is increasingly conscious of the importance of creating the appopriate "narrative" to describe the situation. (See this article about the competing narratives in Anbar province.) We call the narrative the subjective part of a competitive position. What people think about your position is as important as the objective reality of your position. An objective view of a position tells us only what is real now.

Levels of Strategy

Does an organization have one strategy or many? One of our new trainers, Allan Elder, asks:
While searching for blogs on strategy I discovered many specialty sites focusing on topics such as "Internet," "branding," and "supply chain," strategy sites and the list goes on. Does a company have "A" strategy or does it have many strategies? Should marketing, purchasing, HR, and all the other functions have a separate strategy or should the business have a strategy?

Creativity: Mixing Standard Components in a New Way

Sun Tzu taught a simple formula for creativity. You look at the existing pieces of "best practices." You then take those pieces apart and put them together in a new way. Sun Tzu specifically teaches three views of best practices: how processes look, how they sound, and how they "taste," that is, changing the result they create. As I point out in several of my books, "rearranging" these parts is often a matter of changing their order in time, but those rearrangements are often made possible by advances in other areas usually very remote from the target area.

A Strategy Book on Politics

Are reader asks:
When can we expect your book on Sun Tzu and political strategy?
My policy in general is not to write a book, which I charge for, about anything that I don't have years of successful experience in doing. In technical terms, if I don't know the ground, the climate, etc. I really can't in justice to a book. Though I am working on such a book, I would like to get more experience in that area and ideally find a co-author that is a successful politician or campaign adviser.

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