The Importance of Distancing

1144 Words5 Pages
One of the most important principles un-derlying the conduct of war has to be pro-activeness. This is aptly captured by the following saying by Sun Tzi: "In the conduct of war, one must not rely on the enemy's failure to come, but on one's readiness to engage him; One must not rely on the enemy's failure to attack, but on one's ability to build an in-vincible defence. In war, as appropriately pointed out by Sun Tzi, one cannot rely on the failure of the enemy to attack us. Instead, one must be ever ready to take on the enemy. In addi-tion, the defence must be so strong that the enemy would not even dare to contemplate an attack. This proactiveness is thus not on-ly in defence, but in offence as well. This is a principle that is well understood by any military commander. By being proactive, he is able not only to gain the initiative, but will also have ample time and opportunity to deal with the enemy. On the other hand, if he is placed on the defensive, he is unlikely to come up with effective strategies. In fact, he will be under severe pressure, resulting in tension and even disunity within his rank-and-file. While proactiveness is well understood in military warfare, it tends to be easily over-looked in the context of business. More of-ten than not, many companies tend to adopt a "follower" strategy. To begin with, they hope that by following, they can reduce the risks involved. At the same time, they can copy the successful strategy of the leader and avoid his mistakes. There is nothing wrong with adopting a follower strategy, provided one chooses the right leader! The significance of the above quotation by Sun Tzi would be better understood in terms of its applications. Let me illustrate by posing a question. When you are num-ber two or three in your line of business (whether it is in terms of market share, profitability,
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