How military thinking can help business: Part 2

We’ve all been there (and most of us are very much in it now). Life is good, plans have been made and we’re confidently managing the process when Murphy’s Law strikes, and things start to go very wrong. This is the time for clear, effective and rapid thinking. For the military this is an ingrained way of life and the lessons they have learnt and the processes they have created offer valuable guidance for business decision makers.

A massive outside influence like Covid 19 forces businesses to make new types of decisions very quickly. There are some business owners and leaders who will be pushed beyond their comfort or even ability to make those decisions. …

Artwork by Angus Ruddick — Concept Artist

How military thinking can help business: Part 1

“…no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force”

Field Marshal Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke — Chief of Staff of the Prussian General Staff from 1857 to 1871

In these early months of 2020, there are hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world whose planning, operations and very existence have been thrown into doubt. Covid 19 has arrived on the business scene like a rampaging Mongol horde. Business, like the 12th century central Europeans overwhelmed by the Mongols, is struggling to find answers. It is fair to say that Covid 19 has become, to many, very much a ‘main hostile force’ referred to by von Moltke. Businesses are now in a war situation.

This article aims to show how certain elements of military thinking might help business leaders create new ways of responding to this global and entirely unexpected crisis.

I’m looking at a military approach because there is much to be learned from military strategy and thinking. Western military strategists have been honing their thinking for at least 300 years. In fact, many of those strategists relied on much older models. They referenced — and continue to reference — figures like Sun Tzu (~500 BC) and Ghengis Khan (1162 -1227). …


Graham Ruddick

Thought leader in digital transformation, community & strategy. Ex Reed, Trinity, Emap, Centaur.

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