Article PDF: 2.3.2 Reaction Unpredictability

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Five rules for using the unpredictable reactions of others to make better strategic decisions.

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This article describes the challenge in our interactions with others in predicting the their likely reactions. This problem goes back to the difference between planning and strategy. In a controlled environment, activities are organized and therefore predictable. In strategic environments, we cannot control the actions of others directly nor can we exactly predict their reactions. People's reactions are never completely rations, which is why Sun Tzu's strategy factors in a host of cognitive biases in people's reactions. Strategically, behaving predictably is dangerous. It is just as dangerous to assume that we know what others will do.