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Posted: January 31st, 2023

Business and War

Business and War

1 a) Similarities between Business Strategy and Military Strategy
In both Strategies, the main concern is usually based on competition. This means that in both, the aim is to succeed against a determined force which may be referred to as an adversary. In the case of military strategy, the competition is based on physical survival while in the case of business it is based on commercial survival.
In both, a lot goes into devising ways of coming up with a winning formula. This means that a lot of resources go into planning, designing as well as the formulation of policies so as to concur the battle or so as to gain business supremacy. This is the same reason as to why they are referred to as strategies since they involve a lot of brainstorming and research so as to succeed. The resources utilised, can be physical, moral and human. This is based on the stage being tackled as well as its nature. According to Sun Tzu who was a great Chinese General in his volume the Art of War, a successful general is one who wins before the actual fighting has started. He also proposed strategies that bring success which include superior manpower, technology and position. These are the same strategies that bring competitive advantage to any business (Brim, 2013).
.Intuition is an important strategy in the military this is usually coupled with experience. Thus a military leader who lacks experience consequently lacks good intuition. Such a leader is usually likely to lose in war. This also applies to business leaders who lack the strategy of intuition and experience. Such leaders are usually not exposed to challenges they are likely to face in the business world and thus they are bound to lose.
In the military strategy, the mode of attacking the enemy is not based on the frontal attack since it might be too costly. The military thus analyses the opponents weak points and maximise on them. This is usually a more effective method that results in few casualties as well as saving on cost. Also, business strategists adopt a similar tactic where they analyse their competitors’ weakness, advantages and strengths compared to business’ own strategy and in the process adopt a winning formula. The business also safeguards itself by improving its weaknesses. A strategy adopted business which is very common is called the SWOT analysis (Holmes, 2016).
Also, progress made in the war field in form of ground won is safeguarded from losing to the enemy. In a similar way, businesses have to protect their market base by adopting strategies that keep customers as well as the market share. Since it is widely known that loss of such a market share to the enemy is too costly and it may take time to regain it.
b) Differences between business strategy and military strategy.
Military strategies often involve giving orders for execution of a particular task. This means results can be analysed vis-à-vis the instructions given. This is usually not the case for business strategies since it goes beyond giving instructions. This is because there are market forces that are critical to the running of business and which need to be analysed. Also making the right decisions as well as coming up with a team that can achieve these in a business is usually a challenge.
The pressures faced in both strategies are different. In business Strategy, the aim is to come up with a formula that results in minimal cost input while at the same time maximising on the returns from the business. These are returns in the form of profits as well as market share. These are actually the factors that determine the well-being of any business and are the ones analysed to as to gauge the success of the business. On the other hand, military strategy the pressure is different. The pressure is to perform successfully and win war. Some military especially in politically stable countries. The aim is usually to maintain peace and order by weakening the enemy (Pietersen, 2016).
In the military, strategy planning is based on a particular enemy and all strategies and methods adopted are specifically for that enemy. Thus in the planning, everything is fashioned to suit the particular enemy being faced who needs to be defeated. This way, the military is best suited to take on this particular enemy. Business strategists, on the other hand, must bear in mind that they have several competitors. Scenarios, where a business faces a single enemy are very rare thus the strategies they adopt, are not fashioned for all their competitors since the strategies are usually general.
2. Business Strategists can benefit by looking at military strategies for reference in a couple of ways. A business strategist may be able to understand how to beat competition. It is usually prudent to understand strategic management of business. After understanding, there is need to focus on it drawing all attention towards it. This is based on the mantra from the military that intelligence should always precede ground operations. All ideas in business must, therefore, be organised, concentrated and geared towards outdoing competitors. Once this goal is set the mind needs to be disciplined to keep the focus by avoiding distractions as well as side shows.
Strategists may also benefit by knowing how to communicate to employees so that they fully understand the strategy. In the military, the orders are usually distilled in the simplest language. This is to ensure that everyone understands it and they are able to follow. This is aimed at reducing blunders in the battlefield. This is based on the fact that complexity usually paralyses while on the other hand simplicity empowers. Thus business strategists must deliver the message in a simple language, using compelling pictures and simple phrases.
Strategists can also learn that competition in business is interactive and not static. In the military, war usually consists of continuous interaction with the enemy. Therefore no particular strategy survives after engagement with the enemy for the first time. Most strategist often ignore competition dynamics since strategists think that competitors are standing still and them the strategists are the only ones trying to change the dynamics in the field. The competitors in real sense are not static but are constantly changing tact so as to remain relevant in the business world.

Brim D. (2013, January 8). 7 Powerful Lessons Sun Tzu can teach you about Strategy | David Brim. Retrieved from
Holmes J. (2016, April 5). Business Strategy Isn’t Military Strategy | The National Interest. Retrieved from
Pietersen W. (2016, February 12). Von Clausewitz on War: Six Lessons for the Modern Strategist. Retrieved from

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