Business is War

The world is a very competitive place and business is no exception (Excerpt from Unite The Tribes: Leadership Skills for Technology Managers)

There have been countless philosophies on how best to run a company but there's a reason successful leaders so often reach for military strategy as inspiration. Business is a competition for territory and resources. You'll find that the dictionary offers a very similar description for warfare.

As any veteran who now works in the civilian arena will tell you, the consequences of mistakes in the business world are far less severe. However, it would be a mistake to assume that the stakes are not high. World economies can tumble as the result of poor decisions in the private sector, affecting millions of lives. When things go wrong people face difficulties of the most primal nature including having enough to eat, proper medical care and a home to shelter their families.

If you're running the show, I can assure you that none of your people will care why you had to close your doors. Their only concern will be with finding another source of income, preferably one with better leaders. From a management perspective, the fault is yours. Even if your people underperformed, it was your failure to show them a better way so the buck still stops with you.

The world is a very competitive place and business is no exception. No matter what industry you're in, other companies want your market share, your revenue and your people. They will fight you for it, employing everything from brute force to eloquent deception. If you let them, they will steal every customer you have, strip your company for parts and leave you propped up on cinderblocks waiting for the junkyard to claim your now worthless carcass. It's a tough planet out there. You're going to need more than a towel.

Leaders who don't understand the art of strategy in an environment of conflict will drive their companies right off the edge of the cliff. If you're in charge, your job is to operate effectively based on how things are rather than how you wish they were. Only then do you have a strong chance for survival.

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