'Capture' is the most offensive war strategy. Between the option to ruin and destroythe enemy in a war or to capture the enemy forces, capture is the better strategy. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence.
To be able to capture the enemy's entire army in a war, one will have to attack the enemy's strategy. This would entail having :
* deep field insights
* field intelligence
* access to relevant information
* ability to interpret the data and
* skill to develop an effective strategy
Deep Insights :
This entails having among other things, deep knowledge of own resources, available alternatives, capabilities of own weapons & tools, understanding of the battle terrain, feelings, spirit and mood of the people, supplies and logistics and the clarity of purpose for which the enemy is fighting the war.
Field Intelligence :
This deals with how the enemy is organised, his friends, his formations, his strengths, his weapons , his likely strategy and the level of spirit, morale and motivation of their Army. Above all one has to try and forsee the chinks in the enemy armoury.
Access to Relevant Information :
As prevailing and available through intelligent observations, traffic of people, arms and supplies across the enemy lines and through planned counter intelligence.
Ability to Interpret Data :
Manning the army with people having relevant task skills and experiences...not only having deep seated knowledge of the relevant tasks/subject but also sufficient analytical capability to read the sketchy data, analyse it and tell the likely strategy of the enemy. Data under analysis and observation tells objective stories. Interpretation of data available should focussed toward trying to predict the strategy of the enemy with reasonable accuracy. The only caution one needs to adopt is that under acute torture, data has tendency to confess to any observations. Reliance on that for developing strategy is at ones peril.
Skill to Develop an Effective Strategy :
On the basis of available insights and field intelligence an effective strategy needs to be crafted. It is not everybody's game to develop a relevant offensive and defensive strategy that can be executed keeping ground-realities in mind. That requires a different skill-set and also a different mind set. Organisations need to assimilate such strategists within its folds.
Those skilled in war subdue the enemy's army without battle. Attacking and completely Destroying enemy cities as compared to Capturing the enemy forces should be an option for consideration of the General only when there are no other alternatives left out. The collateral damages involved in terms of long-stretch preparatory time, resource-burn with high probability of critical resources being lost and likely death of its trained and brave soldiers in adopting the 'Destroy' option compared to the 'Capture ' option, is very high. Thus preference for adopting a strategy to capture the enemy than to destroy.
Bonding with Strategy & Communications :
Clarity of each soldier in the Army of his own role in the battle-field formation of which he is a part is important. Communicating the relevant overall strategy is critical to register a victory particularly when the strategy is Capturing the enemy rather than Destroying the enemy. To 'Destroy' in comparison, is an easier communication than to 'Capture'. Only a few select Generals in the Army know the full strategy. But everybody in the Army knows the relevant part of the strategy that connects him and the adopted formation to the overall strategy.
The Sovereign or the State for which the Army is fighting the war has to have confidence and should partner the Army in fighting the enemy successfully. The ways of the State and the ways of the Army need to be aligned otherwise wars can go out of hand.
A few battle lessons learnt have critical implications for winning :
👉 those who know when to fight and when to withdraw have greater chances of victory in a war than those who continue fighting mindlessly, out of bravado
👉 those who can strategically counter the enemy moves have a greater chance of. winning. For this the Army needs strategists who have deep knowledge of war-craft. Not all in the army need to have only strength and brawns to win wars.
👉 the internal forces, the more they are integrated to the purpose, the chances of Victory are higher. Higher the clarity and emotional integrity with the Purpose, higher the probability of win.
👉 the army that sweats more in peace bleeds less in war ! Those who exercise, drill and prepare in advance during peace time finally are not shocked and surprised in the battlefield.
👉 the armies that are empowered within the agreed framework and not interfered thereafter on a moment to moment basis when the actual war is on by the Sovereign stand a higher chance of winning
What is valued in a battle is Victory over the purpose for which the war is fought. Battles are not about direct destruction or collateral damages. Such damages may , when other options are not available, be a part of the overall strategy en-route the final purpose of War. Capture without loss is certainly the best strategy.
WHERE IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT BUSINESS IN THIS ?
If you have been a part of the Strategic Business Planning team of an acutely market facing FMCG Company, you would by now have realised that every bit of what is said about war has full relevance and applicability whilst developing the Strategic Plans in markets. Sun Tzu's - 'Art of War' is totally relevant in contemporary hyper competitive Markets as well. Creatively replace 'Enemy' with 'Competition' , 'Battlefield' with 'Markets', 'Army' with 'Management' and 'Sovereign' with the 'Board'. The rest will all fall in place !
Winning market shares and battle for value creation in uber-competitive markets is no less than fighting a war. Lessons from the battlefield have direct relevance but with creative and civil applications of some of these lessons learnt.
Hmmmmmm...not necessarily, always civil. Markets have evidenced equally violent wars. Go ask the battle-scarred veterans !!!