STAY ON THE CUTTING EDGE, LITERALLY
(Seventeenth in the series “The Martial Marketer”. War strategies for work! Fictionalized)
“Do you still have the fight in you?”
That was the question King Someshwara asked Sundara Pandyan II over breakfast.
“Of course, yes. Why are you asking me that now?”
“Sundara, I need to know. You need to know. You are a key ally in my overall plans. Do you have still have the fight in you?
The desire, the anger, the skill and the will?”
“Yes, how do I prove it to you?”
“Take 1000 of my men and show it to all of us.”
“A 100 would do, Sire!”
And so began Sundara Pandyan’s quest for vengeance and reclamation of the Pandya Kingdom. This see-saw of regional and alliance shifts was quite common for that era. Who was controlling whom, for how long, will remain a mystery. Life continued, as did skirmishes, battles, and war!
Sundara left with his 100 and met with Selvam and Singaram, his aides, his commanders. Selvam had trained with his father. Singaram had trained with him. Their fates were tied to his, by choice and affection. They were pleased with the proposal of an alliance and were bemused to hear the challenge up ahead. Selvam gently admonished Sundara.
“When you have been given 1000, you take 1000. You’ve let vanity get in your way. Now, we have a bigger mountain to climb. We will.”
It is obvious you cannot fight the Chozha army with a 100. What can be done to prove the point that Sundara has the fire within?
“We need to make a statement.” Said Singaram vehemently.
“Yes, but without losing any words!” Countered Selvam, with a smile.
A statement. That meant something to reunite the scattered Pandyan forces. That sent a reply to Someshwara. That sent a clear message to Rajarajan III.
With a small force, they could move faster. They narrowed down to a slightly bigger enemy army on the border between the Hoysala and the current Chozha Kingdom.
Selvam took five soldiers along with him and staked out the enemy camp. He studied their location and all surrounding areas. Once he returned, their attacks began. It was a series of small lightning strikes on the enemy camp. One day, the horse riders would ride in, attack, and exit the enemy camp from the other side. Another day, a small group would attack the sentries and soldiers on the periphery and run back. This started happening with some consistency. The enemy was now well aware of what was happening.
When the sixth raid began, the enemy quickly jumped into an attack formation and gave chase. Sundara’s attackers were surprised and turned back full speed. The Chozha platoon chased fast and was gaining on the Pandyas. Their path was clear to follow and the last soldier running away was visible. The Chozha captain encouraged his men to move faster. They had eyes only for the scared, running enemy upfront. Before they knew it, their entire platoon had got stuck in marshy quicksand, a path they were deliberately lead into. Sinking slowly, it was panic and chaos in the Chozha ranks! When they were well and truly stuck, the running soldiers returned. They had mapped out this marshland. The Pandya archers finished the job the raiders had started.
A smaller Pandya force was already encamped near the Chozha border base. They swooped in and eliminated the remaining men in position to guard the base.
With renewed vigour, Sundara and his men had moved past the first step, the first word in their “statement.”
In the next circle inside Chozha lands, they picked an army five times their size. Singaram went ahead to do a recce of the enemy region, the base camp, and the land. They couldn’t get lucky again with their marshland tactic. The approach needed to be adapted to this larger army and different environment. Singaram was looking for chinks in the enemy armor for them to use during the attack. The base camp was well-positioned, with 500 Chozha soldiers. A clearing in the forest with trees all around. Enough spacing between the camp and the trees to watch out for enemy movement. The sentries on duty were fresh and alert.
Sundara paraded the 100 men in a mock attack. The sentries were alarmed, and the whole camp was up. Once Sundara’s men receded, they spread out. Birds started flying off all around the base camp. Trees were shaking, and footsteps could be heard. The Chozha men were alarmed. The whispers started. Once the whispers grow, it is difficult to contain them. Small gangs of whispering men could be seen from the treetops. “Oh, we have been surrounded. Did you see the trees shake, and all the birds fly away? It must be a huge army.” And so the words spread, each one adding to the previous rumour!
That evening, they started the attack. The wind had begun to blow fast. The shaking trees, this time due to the wind, were rattling the enemy soldiers. The archers sent fire arrows into the base camp. Lit arrows aimed at the tents caused many small fires. The men had to rush out, and in the confusion, a lot more fell to the arrows.
The leader realized what was happening and quickly disciplined his men into a defensive formation. Even if they wanted to attack, they did not know where the enemy was. There was noise all around. The cyclone was kicking up ton loads of dust, and his men were looking all around.
When the dust cloud reached its peak, the Pandyan forces attacked. They were well prepared with eyes covered with a cloth, with a small slit for visibility. They attacked the Chozhas in a circular formation, breaking their defense. The enemy did not know the real size of the Pandyas. They only had the perception that this was a vast army. Many lay down their swords and gave up the fight. A hundred men won over five hundred, with relative ease.
Singaram had studied the wind and rain path and had predicted a cyclone: some rain, but lots of wind. The wind meant dust, which means low visibility.
With two wins and the capture of two border regions, Sundara Pandyan had more than proved himself. To his men, and to King Someshwara.
Sundara Pandyan II chose to stay on the cutting edge of performance and victory.
- Know the terrain well. What’s your base? How strong is it? What is the base you are looking at capturing? What is it like?
- Observe. Analyze. Act.
- Use the power of deception to showcase a bigger, better army/team than the competition.
- When the enemy is in sight, keep a lookout for other dangers that will come in.
- When the going is tough, like a storm or a recession, that will be the best time to attack and gain market share!
- Stay on the cutting edge. Think beyond and faster than the competition.
Lessons from Sun Tzu
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This is the seventeenth in the series “The Martial Marketer”. War strategies for work!
1. Marketing Camouflage! Success is sweet.
2. A Trojan variation to defend and attack.
3. Victory at all costs.
4. Size does matter.
5. Fight the fight within, first.
6. The (marketing) warrior without vanity.
7. Playing with Perception.
8. Fools rush in.
9. An alliance is the way forward.
10. What will you do once your strategy is known?
11. When big attacks small?
12. A cornered tiger is most dangerous.
13. Strategy is Grammar.
14. The lull after the storm.
15. The winds of change, spark a wildfire.
16. Short term alliances for long term growth.
Pravin Shekar is an outlier marketer, parallel entrepreneur and a raconteur.
mic @ PravinShekar.com .
For creative collusions, join: http://bit.ly/JoinMyOutlierTribe
Pravin is the author of seven books: Devil Does Care, Marketing lessons from Mythology, Getting paid to speak, a Virtual Summit Playbook, Climb your way out of hell & a collection of travel pics/romantic poems, and stories from the heart!
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