The Art of the Strategist - PCC - ebook

"From ancient battlefields to the modern business landscape, competitors have tried innumerable approaches to conquering adversaries. Success for the victors has taken many forms and traveled many paths, but at its heart, winning strategy can be boiled down to ten universal principles. When learned and implemented, these principals become powerful drivers of business excellence. Renowned strategy expert William A. Cohen, whose considerable experience in the military, corporate, and academic sectors forms the basis for The Art of the Strategist, presents the timeless lessons of: * commitment to a definite objective * seizing and maintaining the initiative * economization to mass (concentration of resources) * positioning * surprise * multiple simultaneous alternatives * the indirect approach * simplicity * timing * exploiting success With examples including the conquests of Hannibal and Alexander the Great, the political triumphs of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the business successes of internet giant VeriSign and other high-profile companies, The Art of the Strategist proves how superior strategy trumps other factors in almost every competitive arena. The ten lessons in turn form a roadmap to decisive victory in business."

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Main Idea

Why is it that some companies flourish whereas other firms with much better resources never seem to realize their true potential? When you strip away all the trappings and irrelevant factors, you'll find that winners consistently execute a thoughtful strategy better than their competitors. If these successful strategic principles can be codified and emulated, you will increase your chances of achieving comparable levels of success.

The word "strategy" is actually derived from a Greek word "strategies" which means "the art of the general". The study of strategy did not start with the evolution of commerce, but actually began with warfare which has been waged for 7,000-years. It is absurd, however, the say that "business is war" because:

The consequences of failure are completely different for war and business.

War is not a continuous activity whereas a successful business goes on and on indefinitely.

Speed is critical to the success of a war strategy, but frequently plays little or no part in good business practices.

Rather than using warfare as a model for business strategy, a smarter approach is to look for the key strategic principles which have come to prominence in the military and to analyze them for lessons that are useful to business. The essential principles of strategy are universal, and apply to all areas of human endeavor──not only war and business but also games, politics and romance.

The 10 Essential Principles of Strategy

10 Principles 1   Commit fully to a definitive objective

The fundamental principle of strategy is to specify what exactly you want to achieve. Until you commit to a definitive objective, nothing else will happen.

An effective strategy always brings physical, mental and moral forces together synergistically to achieve something concrete. To win over your competition, you have to find ways to combine all three forces so they act in a unified direction.

To increase your own personal commitment to strategy:

■ Think through your goals in detail ──until you get to the stage where you can clearly explain your goals to your-self and to those who will help you reach them. You cannot effectively promote your goals to others until you can explain them clearly and unambiguously.

■ Make a public commitment to your goal or objective ──so there will be no turning back. Most people avoid doing this for fear of appearing foolish, but this is a principle of power and effectiveness. Probably the best example of this was President John F. Kennedy who said before a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving a goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth."

■ Promote your goals and objectives actively and consistently ──every time you talk to anyone about the subject. Make certain there can be no doubting your personal commitment to your objective, and your faith it will come together as planned. Promote your goal at every opportunity.

■ Anticipate that obstacles will crop up along the way ──and be prepared to deal with them effectively rather than taking that as a sign your strategy is flawed. Anticipate what problems are likely to appear and think through potential solutions in advance. Write down the benefits of achieving your final objective and review those benefits frequently, especially when obstacles materialize. That will rein-force the feeling that what you're working towards is genuinely worth the effort.

■ Be prepared to adjust your strategy as necessary ──but not your ultimate objective. In other words, commit to achieving your objective but acknowledge how you ultimately get there may pan out differently from what you first projected. It's the goal that's important, not how you get there.

Key Thoughts

"If I always appear prepared, it is because before entering an undertaking, I have meditated for long and have foreseen what may occur. It is not genius, which reveals to me suddenly and secretly what I should do in circumstances unexpected by others. It is thought and meditation."

Napoleon Bonaparte