Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How Great Generals Win Battles

Great generals like Alexander, Genghis Khan, Frederick, Napoleon, and Patton invested considerable time in planning and in ensuring that their armies were always prepared for battles. But their plans were never cast in stone. It is not necessary for them to lead in battles although some like Alexander did.

The trick is to maintain a helicopter view scanning the battle ground while the battle is in progress but ever vigilant for break-through opportunities. Once an opportunity presents itself often in a fleeting moment, a great general would immediately seize it. The ability to sense whether a situation is an opportunity that should be seized or a one that should be passed up is what differentiates a great general from an average leader.

A fitting example is the biodiesel crap in which many corporations have sunk millions of dollars without any chance of recouping their investments. Pattern recognition would have easily established that it is not an attractive opportunity primarily because its future competitors relying on nanotechnology and biotechnology can capitalise on the technology s-curve that will one day enable them to leapfrog biodiesel's value proposition. Furthermore, the recent high oil price increase were not so much due to peak oil production as to peak money creation which means the high oil prices were transitory.

As for those who cannot even smell an opportunity, they are the foot soldiers who will always be the casualties of battles.

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