Every leader is unique, yet there’s a remarkable similarity between how corporate chieftains and top generals think. Senior executives may not even realize it, but they frequently adopt war principles to lead their companies into a more profitable future.
- They all focus on the big picture. The very nature of war requires the general to embrace the entire sweep of events.
Same goes for the fast-charging manager, who must think in broad terms to weigh the cost and benefit of decisions, the interplay between one division’s strategy and another unit’s efforts, the ever-changing actions of employees, contractors and customers, and the larger forces that shape the marketplace, such as technological advances and Federal Reserve policy.
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- They also must rely on teams. The traditional rigidity of military hierarchies does not negate the importance of teamwork among soldiers.
In this age of employee empowerment, distributing authority among teams is one of the most popular ways for CEOs to motivate their workers and foster collaboration.
- Effective leaders rely on trust. A military commander must establish trust; otherwise, his troops might hesitate to follow orders in the heat of battle.
Military strategists have distilled nine principles of war that transcend time and culture. And you can find them all in Business Is War:
1: OBJECTIVE. It’s not enough to say, “Beat the competition.” Discover the 4 key elements for setting winning objectives.
2: OFFENSIVE. You’ll never achieve the success you want by defending the status quo. Learn the 3 essential steps to stay on the offensive.
3: MASS. Too many fast-track managers break this rule at their own peril. Don’t let yourself be one of them.
4: ECONOMY OF FORCE. Success itself can lead to violating this rule – and jeopardize all you’ve achieved. Learn how to keep your success from being your own worst enemy.
5: MANEUVER. It’s easy to talk about being a nimble competitor. But it doesn’t just happen. Learn the 3 critical factors for successful corporate maneuvering.
6: UNITY OF COMMAND. Emphasis on teamwork and empowerment is important, but avoid the one common mistake that can undo the best-laid plan.
7: SECURITY. Discover what can get a general court-martialed faster than anything else – and what you need to do to avoid a similar fate.
8: SURPRISE. Learn the 3 dimensions of surprise. (Hint: It’s more than just being first to market.)
9: SIMPLICITY. The “best” plan is useless if it can’t be executed successfully. Discover how to build simplicity into your plan. Apply a 3-step process to communicate your plan to your “troops.”