Article PDF: 1.8.3 Cycle Time

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Sun Tzu's four rules regarding the importance of speed in feedback and reaction.

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This article describes how, in the unpredictable environment of competition, situations are unpredictable and turn around quickly. Actions often fail. Rewards are always uncertain. Though certain courses of action are more probably to succeed over time, any given instance can fail, sometimes spectacularly. The problem is that we simply do not have enough information or control in a competitive environment to direct events.

When we think of all actions as a feedback loop rather than steps in a process, every action succeeds--at least in the sense of giving us more information. Even if the information is "that won't work," we learn from each experience. In using Sun Tzu's Rules, every action is an experiment, an exploration. If we think of the goal in terms of gathering information, there are some things that will always work better, especially when comparing our situation to those of others.