Strategy Institute

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.

Strategic Perspective: Food for Thought

Foolish ideas seem logical if they are repeated often enough. Sun Tzu's strategy teaches the use of analogies to support logic. For example, do the arguments about energy policy make sense in terms of food policy? Current food technology does a thousand times more ecological damage than any other human activity including using oil. Farming cuts down trees, plows up the land, depletes limited water resources, spreads dangerous chemicals, and intentionally poisons natural plants and animals. Using ecologically unsound food is destroying the planet.

Leveraging Expectations: Prediction Confirmed

In this earlier post on the third of this month, I explained how Sun Tzu's strategy uses subjective perceptions to leverage changes in objective positions. I predicted that if politicians would just start taking actions that would change people's expectations about the FUTURE of oil availability, the price would drop immediately not years ahead when the oil actually becomes available.

A Proven Prediction: The Power Curve

For some time, I have written about how the "power curve" represents many aspect of competition situations better than the "bell curve" that charts controlled situations. Thanks to a reader, we now have some solid scientific research that verifies our observation, providing the first solid proof for a prediction we have made based on Sun Tzu's 2,500 year-old science.

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.

Change, Adatability, and Flip-Flops

Sun Tzu's Sun Tzu's strategy is a philosophy of continually adapting to changing situations.However, Sun Tzu's strategy recognizes there are two types of changes in the environment: changes affecting the ground, which are objective, physical changes, and changes that are solely climatic, that is, subjective, emotional changes. Adaptation can also take two forms: objective changes to methods and psychological changes to character that affect how decisions are made. Such adaptations can be short-term adaptations or long-term reformations.

Leveraging Expectations: Bringing Down Oil Prices Immediately

Sun Tzu's Sun Tzu's strategy teaches that it is much easier to change people's subjective view of a position than the physical position itself, and that, by changing people's subjective views, you can leverage real physical changes very easily. This seems like magic, but let us use high oil prices as an example. Despite what the politicians says, they could bring down oil prices dramatically right away if they leveraged people's expectations about the future.


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