There is no doubt that there is a strong bond between classical military strategy and modern business strategy. Countless books on how to apply the, "Art of War" by Sun Zi (孫子兵法) to the modern business world have been written. However, many of these books fail to communicate crucial factors that can greatly effect a modern executives ability to successfully apply the principles, tactics, and strategies presented into bettering their business operations.
There are hundreds if not thousands of other classical Chinese military strategy books that exist. Many of those that predate the "Art of War" by Sun Zi have been translated by Translator and Author Ralph Sawyer. Therefore, it would be a diligent endeavor for those that are interested to read up on other insights into classical strategy to compare and contrast them with "The Art of War" by Sun Zi. With enough research, especially in later published commentaries on the, "Art of War", and the works that predate the "Art of War", it soon becomes clear that in order to implement even the shallowest level of knowledge disseminated in these classical works, one must have a firm grasp on the distinction between strategy and tactics.
When many modern authors and executives speak of strategic execution and implementation, often times, they are actually practicing tactical execution and implementation. This is not merely a semantic discrepancy, one who believes that they are implementing a strategy, however, are in fact only implementing a tactical approach prove through their implementation that they do not have a broad enough mind to truly think and act strategically. In turn, their implementation struggles, fails, and/or creates a weakened state of affairs.
Strategy is defined as broad scope plan that is constructed to achieve one or more large scale objectives under uncertain conditions.
A tactic is defined as a conceptual action that is implemented as one or more specific tasks.
Tactics enable the achievement of a strategy and are generally task specific. Strategy is not an action or task but the core of an initiative, it is the vision that is built for a long term sustainable objective. This is a fundamental teaching of the "Art of War" and of other classical and modern strategic works. Strategies account for anticipated and un-anticipated variables and reactions. Strategies are dynamic and multi-faceted. Strategy relies upon tactics as support. However, strategy will NEVER be one or two simple actions to get past a problem. Many modern works on strategy DO NOT account for this. Time and time again, authors and executives will claim that they are applying strategic principles from "The Art of War" in the modern business world, but upon deeper inspection they almost always reveal their shallow understanding of the far reaching and multilayered scope of even the most basic levels of strategy.
Adam Kryder has extensive experience operating business in foreign markets. He specializes in bridging cultural and communication gaps to help businesses more effectively and efficiently conduct business in international markets.