The Sun Tzu Way of Ladder Ascender to Industry Leader



Ancient military classic ‘Art of War’ by Sun Tzu, written centuries ago, serves its purpose beyond providing principles and wisdom to war. Sun Tzu wrote this book inducing a lot of elite strategies indicating how a war should be fought or won. For the amount of ages it’s been through, the book can likely be considered as one of the world’s first self-help books. Over time industry leaders started to relate to war and business. Even out of the business world this book finds its standing in politics and culture for instance. That’s how timeless Sun Tzu’s strategies for winning a conflict proves to be.

Sun Tzu’s Military Tactics from a Business Point of View

Present business world is where titans dominate the market, technological advancements surpass traditional models, and profitable marks test our adaptability. For instance, as a small business owner, you might grapple with limited resources, the constant struggle to attract and retain customers, and the daunting task of keeping up with ever- evolving consumer demands; hence, fighting tooth and nail to secure your place in the market. But there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Beyond these exterior challenges, an internal struggle frequently remains unvoiced. The feeling of uncertainty and doubt creeps in, wondering if your efforts will ever bear fruit.

Be Proactive

One of the most important lessons from Sun Tzu's text is to be proactive, not reactive. To be successful in business, it's pivotal to take the action and act proactively rather than staying for chances or problems to arise. Creating a business model that adequately considers competitive challenges is key to your success. Reacting to situations will usually result in making poor verdicts or being too late to take advantage of opportunities. Being proactive allows you to seize control of the situation and create your own opportunities.

Increase your Chances for Success

By following the principles from the Art of War, you can  upgrade your chances for success in business and achieve greater levels of success. Whether you are working to gain market share, improve your market penetration, or grow your profits, these  dateless principles will help you achieve your ideals.

Have a Strategic Mind

Another important lesson from Art of War is the importance of business strategy. To be successful, you need to have a plan and be willing to make  adaptations as  demanded. There's no one- size- fits- all solution in business strategy, so as a business owner, it's important to be flexible and adapt your strategy as needed. Like any military operation, your business strategy needs to be well planned and well- executed.

Let’s hear it from Thompson P Gnanam, Managing Director & Global CEO, 3i Infotech Ltd, one of the business tycoons, who, in a recent interaction with CEO Insights Magazine, have applied Sun Tzu’s words in real life.

“For me art of war has been an important foundational book because I have personally implemented the learnings to reality. As how the ‘Art of War’ strategies could apply to our strategies, business and in differentiating yourself from competitors”.


Understand Your Opponent and Yourself

To grasp victory, you need to understand them as well as you understand yourself. Sun Tzu says, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

Apple Inc can be seen as a supporting example of keeping its eyes locked on its competitors and anticipating market trends. The tech giant’s focus on being secretive and launching products surprisingly falls in line with Sun Tzu’s strategy here.

Another example would be Amazon for studying and personalizing products befitting the customer’s needs while making in-house improvements in logistics and supply chain management for better deliveries.

Deception is Okay

Deception can be an important tool in battle. You can use it to mislead your opponents or get them into feeling overconfident only to prove them wrong in the end. Sun Tzu says, “ All warfare is grounded on deception. ”

Eye on the Prize

As a business leader or owner, you need to keep your eyes on the prize and don’t get distracted by other issues. Stay focused on what's important and don’t get embroiled in details. Sun Tzu says, “The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes a few calculations beforehand.”

Never Let You Guard Down

Come what may, as a business leader, you need to be prepared for any situation that might arise. Business intelligence systems can help you prepare for a variety of contingencies and unanticipated circumstances. Sun Tzu implies that you need to adapt to the changes while understanding the terrain.

Netflix can be seen as a standing example of this is, it was more attuned to understanding the terrain and adapting to changes by breaking the traditional entertainment industry and shifting towards online streaming and capitalized on it, investing heavily in original content production and  using data analytics to personalize recommendations.

Now the next step Sun Tzu is saying is, even after winning battles, conquering cities or lands, yet failing to consolidate these successes is concerning and a waste of time, effort and resources. Sun Tzu is implying about growing your successes. From a business point of view translates to taking your business to the next level.

Build Upon Successes

By now we have all heard about success breeds success. Basically, when you achieve some success in business, always strive to take it to the next level. The key to any successful business is getting the first success and  also  using  that from each new victory. Occasionally with success, people tend to stop doing the efforts that made them successful. When they stop putting in the efforts, the competition will be ready to seize the occasion. Hence, when you are already in an advantageous position, you need to change your gears and go full throttle. At that point you need to ask yourself about what you want to achieve for the long-term? Or how to take your short-term success to a long-term one. A skilled commander sets a great store by using the situation to the best advantage. This can be seen even today with some places favouring and not favouring a business. As a business owner, you must train your eyes to see openings that others cannot see. You have to always be on the lookout. When you find a suitable occasion, influence your strengths and your network, to capture it.

Luck Favours the Prepared Mind

Even when success is just a few seconds away, anything could disrupt it and ruin it all from falling in place. Be prepared for setbacks and don’t give up easily. Victory may not always be attainable, but that does not mean you should give up without a fight.