Standard Terms in Sun Tzu's Strategy

Term Definition

1. Generally, the expenditure of resources; 2. The execution of a decision; 4. A single, independent move;


1. The ability to change methods to fit the situation; 2. The ability to move in a new direction at any time; 3. Generally, our flexibility of response.


1. n. A move to a position in the direction of our mission; 2. v. Improving a position by getting it closer to our goals; 3. the desired result of the progress cycle


1. The breadth and range of territory that a position encompasses; 2. The extent, range, or and capacity within an opportunity, the expanse of the region it covers; 3. The range of potential within our mission, climate, ground, command, or methods.

Barricaded Positions

1. Any position defined by an extreme number of barriers to entry; 2. The benchmark position used to evaluate opportunities defined by a large number of obstacles


1. The difficulties in filling the opening presented by given opportunity; 2. Obstacles that block our access to the opportunities; 3. The conditions that prevent others from filling an opportunity before we do.


1. The size of the area covered by a mission, an opportunity, or a position.
2. How inclusive or exclusive a mission, an opportunity, or a position are.
3. The extremes of breadth in positions are spread-out and constricted position


1. A series or group of related actions or moves used to take advantage of an opportunity; 2. The use of a series of short-term positions called field positions to achieve our mission; 3. The orchestrated choice of different methods over time to attain a goal.


1. Our inability to see a pattern in components or events;
2. Surface complexity that hides any underlying order;
3. cognitive dissonance from reality failing to match our expectations


1. An outward, visible sign that gains us a benefit or reward from changing our position; 2) the actions taken to get a position recognized by others to gain rewards


1. The ease with which a mission, an opportunity, or a position are understood.
2. How concise, transparent, and believable a set of goals are
3. The extremes of breadth in positions are spread-out and constricted position


1) generally, the forces driving change in a competitive landscape; 2) objectively, the temporary, changing features of the external competitive environment; 3) subjectively, the combined emotions and attitudes of everyone in the competitive landscape; 4) one of the five key elements that defines the time aspects of a competitive position


1) generally, the authority and responsibility for making decisions to improve a competitive position; 2) the role of the individual conscious mind for making comparative choices; 3) the qualities of leadership that wins followers and supporters; 4) the key element of a strategic position that identifies who makes which decisions

Competing Agents

1) generally, the individuals or groups whose positions are being compared; 2) a actor in the environment with the capacity to make decisions and execute those decision to improve its position; 3) a set consisting of a leader, methods, and a mission; 4) the internal key elements defining a strategic position


1. Any situation where a comparison is made between alternatives; 2. A contest among people where their relative attributes are compared on the basis of outcome or opinions.

Competitive Landscape

1) the arena in which competitors are compared; 2) the external competitive environment of resources shaped by the interaction among competing agents; 3) the mental map of any competitive area

Complementary Opposites

1. A pair of necessary but seeming opposing sides of the same system that create one another; 2) Two balancing forces of nature that create the stasis of a strategic position, which are leveraged to advance a postion; 3) The contrasting differences between two conditions that defines their essential nature as in how the nature of lightness defines darkness; 4) The many natural forms of emptiness and fullness


1. SOSI abbreviation for the concept of "complementary opposites.


1.n. Actions that seek to create decline in an opponents position in order to improve a position relatively; 2. Situations in which two rivals investing to attempt to damage each others' positions; 2. Battles (meetings) that are costly to all involved parties; 4. The most costly actions in competition.

Contentious Situation

An opportunity that is rewarding enough to attract a group of competing interests.


1. The ability to accept uncertainty in making decisions.
2. The desire to take reasonable risks in pursuing a mission
3. The willingness to learn and try different approaches in the face of failure.


1. n. A move to a position that is further from our mission; 2. v. damaging a position by moving it further from our goals; 3. the natural result of costly conflict


1. The degree of commitment to a mission
2. The height of a barrier or obstacle
2. The degree of understanding regarding a position

Desperate Situation

1. A class of situations that occurs at the very end of a move when time, alternatives, and favorable conditions are all running out.
2. Any situation where our position is deteriorating rapidly.

Difficult Situation

A class of situations where we encounter serious obstacles to success that dramatically slow our progress at the end of a move.


1. Representing a condition or situation as the opposite of what it is; 2. The intentional uses of information to damage the decision-making of others, often the "big lie." 3. Any daring use of false information.

Dissipating Situation

A class of situations that arises when we are targeted for an attack by a large, well-organized opponent.


1. The differences in space and knowledge separating two positions; 2. That what must be covered get from one position to another; 3. The opposite of proximity and affinity.


1. Any attack on the unity of an opponents; 2. Attempts to win over or defeat small parts of a group one at a time; 3. An action that encourages individuals to put their individual goals above the shared goals of group.

Easy Situation

The easy progress that we make at the beginning of a new move, venture, or campaign.