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'Business is War'

His risks were carefully calculated because he relied on thorough preparation through intelligence-gathering and making sure supplies were available. Perhaps his greatest skill was what is called "situational awareness," or the Ace Factor, the ability to size up situations promptly.

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These are valuable traits all business leaders could use. Our image of the Mongols is of uncivilized nomads who were the human equivalent of the bubonic plague. Dunnigan : Yes, they were ruthless, but it was a carrot-and-stick approach. They made it clear that it was either surren-der or extermination. A good manager knows when to be tough, even if it means attracting unwelcome attention from the Federal Trade Commission or the Justice Department.

But the Mongols didn't conquer most of the known world just by being savage; they were very well-organized and used remarkably efficient political and logistical techniques. Any one of these, updated to current circumstances, would make a company stronger. For example, Genghis Khan mixed warriors from different tribes to weaken tribal loyalty and create warriors loyal to him. He organized the army so staff leaders could move easily from one unit to another. Speed was his most remarkable asset, the key to his victories.

Business is War

And he was flexible, whether in battle tactics or in adapting to new cultures. Smith : You mention that Caesar's greatest strength was that he was a master communicator before mass media came along. Why was he effective? Dunnigan : Caesar studied rhetoric at the best school of the time. He considered just the right words to use, and if he felt something might not be understood by his audience, he left it out.

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Instead of letting someone else tell his story, he wrote it himself. Plus he sponsored terrific games for the Roman people--you could call him the first user of a multimedia campaign. Communication is the key to getting anything done. Ambiguity in what you say allows your enemies to speculate, as does saying nothing for fear of making a misstep. You need to keep your people informed, and when you send a message to an ally, always assume an enemy will see it, since alliances change.

Smith : What was Charlemagne's most outstanding characteristic from which today's managers can learn?

Dunnigan : Charlemagne had a knack for selecting smart people in areas he was weak in, like a successful founder of a company who manages to grow the firm to a huge size by fostering an atmosphere that attracts the wide variety of skills needed. He also created a government and legal bureaucracy that were responsive and adapted to local cultures. Smith : Let's look briefly at some of the other warriors. Gustavus Adolphus was a tactical and technological innovator. Everyone wants to be, of course, but how? Dunnigan : He and Douglas MacArthur were able to figure out what new ideas would work and what wouldn't.

All the great captains observed how others used new technology before they tried it. It isn't innovative to be the first to use a new technology; it's innovative to be the first to make the technology do something really useful. Smith : You mention that Frederick the Great paid twice what other countries paid to get the best soldiers. It's a great idea, but small companies usually can't pay as much as large companies. What are other ways great leaders attracted and kept top people? Dunnigan : Military leaders usually offered their soldiers a piece of the conquered territory, and today many small companies compensate with equity.

Once you have the best people, you keep them by handing out medals and promoting them as fast as possible.


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If you treat people well and offer them unique opportunities to grow and develop, one star employee can outperform several workers combined. Smith : Like a small business, Frederick's Prussia was surrounded by many large and hostile countries, but it thrived. What was his secret? Dunnigan : He was better organized and moved faster than his foes. He also learned from his mistakes. Likewise, there is an opening for small companies if they examine themselves more honestly than corporations, which tend to get arrogant.

Frederick was also persistent, and you can overcome a competitive advantage by that simple principle. Smith : You say the three things that set Ulysses S. Grant apart from other generals were his optimism, daring and his calmness when facing stress and risk. Dunnigan : Grant wouldn't dwell on the negatives of a situation; he was solution-oriented. Too many other generals would prepare and prepare but were too afraid of the risks to do anything.

Given the high budget requirements and long preparations time, BIW games are more appropriate for big companies' big decisions and large budgets, such as corporate games, involving top executives with considerable staff and consultant support.


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BIW games are less appropriate for business units, or business strategy decisions, as their high price tag and extensive time required from top executives are no match for small scale games with more tailored application and flexible format. Game theory and computer simulation games are appropriate for planning and decision support in industries in relatively stable state, known distributions of outcomes, and predictable competitors, as they are best suited for finding equilibrium solutions among a relatively large set of known variables payoffs and moves.

Business war games employing role-playing and competitor analytical techniques are most beneficial in business strategy at the business unit, market, brands, product and project levels. According to participants, BIB games provide touch reality-based challenge to strategies and plans that helps companies cope with uncertainty. BIB are also more culture sensitive, and should be applied with caution in cultures where honest discussion of blindspots is less than appreciated. Bush in Board games can be used for business war games. In this case, they are war games for civilians applied with a marketing warfare analogy to a market situation.

To some, the war metaphor implicit in "business war game" is an accurate or useful depiction of business and competitive strategy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Look up Business war game , Business wargame , Business wargames , Business war games , Business-wargame , business-wargames , Business war gaming , or Business wargaming in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Hipel Conflict Analysis: Models and Resolutions. Business War Games. Richard Archived from the original PDF on Retrieved Harvard Business Review , May—June, pp.

The Accounting Review, Vol. However, the employees do not have to worry way too much about the recession. They are working for a company which is obligated to provide them with their salary by the end of the month. If you are someone who wants to earn a lot of money and is not satiated by the mediocre in life, you should do business.

In job your chances of earning so much are not very high. However, also be ready to handle a lot of pressure each day and become farsighted enough to calculate and assess the current situations and plan your future actions according to your predictions. Business requires a lot many strategies. You cannot simply put in all your money and expect it to pay returns. It is not as easy as that. Contrary to this, business is like a war where you have to take care of all the enemies, create your own forces and make strategies that are smart enough to make you win in the battlefield. Why is business like a war?

Here are a few reasons:. Take care of the Market Forces: When you invest in a certain business, remember that there are many other people who have invested in the same business and who must be willing to earn profits from it too. Thus, they will try and out win you in your game. If needed, they might also do wrong things to you. In this case, the situation is exactly like that in a battlefield. If you want to be on the top and be crowned, you will have to win the battle and conquer everyone else.