Welcome to the first edition of #BookInsight where we at ID92 read about business, entrepreneurship and give you the most important points from a particular book. This week, on our Facebook page , we read The Art of War, by Chinese Military leader Sun Tzu, which is a book of strategy about warfare. There are various implications that can be derived from the book, in a personal as well as professional context.

We have applied the factors described in the book to business because the success of war, and business, depends on the leadership.

1. The Moral Law

According to the book, The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, Heaven signifies night/day, cold/heat, times/seasons, Earth comprises distances, the chances of life and death, The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and by method and discipline we are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the maintenance of roads, and the control of military expenditure.  Let’s discuss the implications of the five constant factors that govern the art of war.

  • The Moral Law: This includes the Code of Conduct, your morals, your principles and your values. As a great leader this incorporates both your personal and professional values.
  • Heaven: This comprises of external factors, like market trends, favorable products, new technology, new terminology.
  • Earth: This incorporates everything on the ground, i.e. the things you can amend and adapt. This can be company goals, objectives, vision and mission, daily, monthly or yearly targets.
  • The Commander: The Commander exudes wisdom, strategy, innovation, courage, sincerity and strictness. In business, the Commander is you, the person running the ropes, the manager, the leader.
  • Method and Discipline: In a business setting, method and discipline stand for the hierarchy in the company, the details of the flow of the capital, and controlling the costs.

2. Developing your Product

“There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.”

In a business context, this statement can be interpreted in terms of Product Development. In simple terms, don’t launch a product where there are too many competitors. You want your startup and its product (or service) to achieve a competitive edge. An environment where your struggle is prolonged is not the right place for your product to be introduced.

3. Dealing with Competition

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

When you appear to be weak even though you are strong, your competitor grows arrogant and believes that they have the upper hand. This gives you ample opportunity to build your resources and plan accordingly so that you can strike when the time is right.

When you appear to be strong even though you are weak, you ensure that your competitor does not notice your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. It is important to note that you should not overcompensate or exude overconfidence, but tactfully present yourself as strong.

What did you learn from this week’s #BookInsight? Let us know in the comments and share with your friends to spread the knowledge! Get more information from Innovation District 92.