STARS Training Methods, Skills, and Resources

Successful people are ordinary people who saw an opportunity and acted on it to create a position for themselves. Worrying about your situation won't help. Nothing is worse than worry except excuses. You can win the position that you were meant to have in this world, but to do so, you must understand positioning and how to explore opportunities. The Institute STARS Training is designed to speed and simplify the process of not only learning these skills but successfully integrating them into your daily life. STARS Training consist of:

  • Four stages of learning
  • Nine types of strategic skills
  • Five levels of expertise.

The Four E's

You master STARS skills in stages. A good analogy here is learn to type. When you are learning to type, you don't just sit down and start typing. You have to understand the concept, learn the keyboard and finger positioning, and then do a lot of practice, consciously hunting and pecking. It is with practice the process become automatic and effortless. We call the stages of STAR's Training, the four E's:

  • Exploration: understanding positioning
  • Education: learning its skills
  • Exercise: lots of practice in those skills
  • Expertise: automatic and effortless positioning

Everyone starts at Exploration. At this stage, people need a general overview of Sun Tzu's methods to get a sense of what they do, how they are used, and most importantly, their value. Our main website, Sun Tzu's adaptations, our Amazing Secrets Seminar, and our on-site 2 Hours on the Front Lines of Strategy are all orientation pieces. They should be designed to give people feel for how STARS works, what its benefits are, and why they need to work at mastering it. All our material (including my orientation books) currently focus mostly on the how, but they need to be redeveloped over time to emphasize both the benefits and value of additional training.

The next stage is Education, where people learn the details of the system. During this stage, people learn the elements of Sun Tzu's mental models and their interconnections. In our typing analogy, this is the stage at which you learn the keyboard and the techniques of using your fingers. A few of our books, Golden Key, 9 Formulas, Warrior Class, provide more detailed education. Our Golden Key Seminar also provides education for the first level of knowledge about position awareness, but most of this education will be done specifically at the Strategy School and through on-site training.

The key stage is Exercise. At this stage, people start using these ideas, first in training exercises and then consciously applying the methods to their plans and decisions. In our typing analogy, this is the "hunt and peck" stage, where you start practicing first on training exercises and then on your own material. This stage integrates people's education into their everyday actions. This practice anticipates what can happen, and though what actually happens in their lives will be different, from this practice, they learn the pieces of the solution so those pieces are on hand when people need them. Exercise is the main area of future development both for our On-Site and On-Line training.

With practice, the elements of the STARS matrix are ingrained not only in people's thinking but in their actions and everyday decisions. In our typing analogy, this is the point at which you can type effortlessly, without thinking consciously. This is the final stage of Expertise, where knowing the element they need at a given moment becomes a reflex. Their unconscious mind takes over and makes the right decisions effortlessly. At this level, we certify people's skills and encourage them to think about becoming a licensed trainer.

Skills and Levels

The STARS Skill Pyramid

We teach nine skills in the STARS program. They are 1) Position Awareness, 2) Source Development, 3) Opportunity Identification, 4) Opportunity Evaluation, 5) Safe Experimentation, 6) Fast Response, 7) Creative Response, 8) Position Claiming, and 9) Position Security. These skills are directly related to the Nine Formulas in our Business Success book.

  • Position Awareness teaches people see situations in framework of relative positions. This is the foundation for all higher levels of strategic knowledge.
  • Source Development

    is developing a network of personal contacts to provide a broader perspective on your position.
  • Opportunity Identification

    teach you how to recognize opportunities that others cannot see.
  • Opportunity Evaluation compares potential in terms of how they can be defended and advanced in the future.

  • Safe Experimentation teaches you how to experiment with positions safely with the greatest chance of success.

  • Fast Response teaches nine common situations and the methods required to respond to each appropriately.

  • Creative Response teaches the techniques of innovation and surprise create strategic momentum.

  • Position Claiming teaches the techniques for

    claiming the rewards of a position.

  • Position Security teaches the techniques for securing positions against attack.

These are the skills taught in the Nine On-Site Training Modules that we will be introducing in our Trainer's meeting later this month. Each Skill will have its own dedicated Module. These modules will mix both educational material with group exercises.

This on-site training will be integrated with on-line courseware. As we have already done with our books, videos, and audios at the Strategy Shop, our courseware at the Strategy School will be organized according to the nine areas of skill. In each of these nine areas, they will be further broken down into the Exploration, Education, Exercise, and Expertise Stages. The Expertise level will be dedicated to certification.

For purposes of certification, these skills will define five levels of expertise in our STARS Maturity Model: 1) Apprentice, 2) Explorer, 3) Professional, 4) Expert, and 5) Master Levels. STARS Apprentices are certified after mastering Position Awareness. All higher levels will required certification in two related skills. STARS Explorers will be certified after mastering Source Development and Opportunity Identification. Professional STARS will be certified after mastering Opportunity Evaluation and Safe Experimentation.&nbsp. Expert STARS will be certified after mastering Fast Response and Creative Response. STARS Masters will master Position Claiming, and Position Security.

Competitive Arenas: