The Art of Strategy - Part Four
"Analysing your strategic position"
Sun Tzu the Art of Strategy on analysing position, says:
“Therefore, before any challenge,
Calculate a plan with five working fundamentals,
And examine the condition of each.
The first is Mission
The second is Climate
The third is Ground
The forth is Leadership
The fifth is Method
Leaders should not be unfamiliar with these Five.
Those who understand them will triumph.
Those who do not understand them will be defeated.”
Sun Tzu the Art of Strategy
Let us look at analysing this situation.
An Information Technology Consulting Firm or a System integrator does not deliver what they promise to the customer and also increase the price as they go along by a huge amount.
Usually this kind of project is a matter of life or death for the organisation and sometimes to the nation i.e. The National health Computerisation Programme.
Their existence itself could depend on such a system to be developed, their future survival in a competitive market place could depend on it and the supplier knows it. Things are now out of hand at no fault to the customer.
What is the first thing that comes to mind in your organisation when faced by such a situation? I would suggest a Fight, flight or submit and pay the supplier to continue the work.
Fight is to go to Court because you believe that the contract is very sound and you should sue them.
A Flight reaction, is to find someone to blame and move onto to negotiate or bargain for a smaller price increase and hope for the best.
Alternately, following on from some understanding of Sun Tzu the Art of Strategy, a strategist comes along and ask you to work with him in finding a solution without damaging the entire system.
Together you sit about analysing the situation and see if a challenge is appropriate or not. What you are really doing now is “Strategising” and analysing the Situation for your company before you engages in a costly battle with your supplier.
First, you look at the Mission. You start by asking, Are all the stakeholders agreeing on the objectives of this challenge and what they want the outcome to be?. Is the Board supporting the team?, are the troops in line with the top people thinking? then you set about scoring yourself against your opponent.
Second, you analyse the Climate or the situation. If this case would to go to court, would the climate be supportive to such a move. You consider The changing circumstances, the time, Share value, press coverage, reputation etc. then you Score both organisations.
Third, you analyse the Ground you want to fight on. Is it the project ground or the Account ground or company relationship ground that the fight would be best handled,. Taking the fight to their board or to their customers or to the press is also to be considered. You then score both organisations on the merits of such a ground.
Forth, you analyse the Leadership element. Who is leading this project? Is there one general or is there twenty? How about your opponent's leadership situation? Score the strength and weakness of the leadership element of both organisations.
Fifth, is The Method, the discipline, the art. What are your troops like? Are they ready? Are they well trained? do they have the skills required for the challenge?. Knowing the art of strategy is part of the skills required for winning.
According to Sun Tzu the Art of Strategy, a decision to defend or attack will arise naturally depending on your score. If your score exceed that of your opponent, an attack strategy could be implemented, but if your score is less than your opponent, then you may consider a strategy of defending until your situation improves.
Nevertheless, how would you improve your situation and advance your position?
Please read Part Five on advancing your situation.
The Art of Strategy (Navigation)
The Art of Strategy - Introduction
Introduction and main page.
The Art of Strategy - Part One
Perspective on the writing of Sun Tzu's Treaty.
The Art of Strategy - Part Two
Three words in the opening of the Art of Strategy are very important.
The Art of Strategy - Part Three
Two main issues that the Art of Strategy deals with..
The Art of Strategy - Part Four You Are Here!
The Art of Strategy Positioning and Advance.
The Art of Strategy - Part Five
The Art of Strategy The advance Cycle