Tactical Surprise

Over the past few days, Afghanistan dominated rolling news. Initially it was the awesome exploits of its fledgling cricket side qualifying for the World 20/20 Cup in the Windies in April (although, ICC take note, what we need is a 20/20 series akin to the IRB Rugby 7s Series and not this type of bi-annual bash). And next it was the ‘surge’. One talking head on this military campaign that said something interesting was Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of Defence Staff.

He posited that there was no “strategic surprise”. The Taliban know we’re coming. In which case, you must focus on “tactical surprise”. Yes, they may indeed know that we’re coming, but they do not know where, when or how.

Much of business school strategy seems to emanate from the battlefield. When it comes to selling, you can sometimes have more than one ‘foe’. Not only are your competitors the enemy, but insurgents can lie across the table from you within your prospect organisation.

In such instances, your strategy could well be common knowledge. How you execute that though, could be what gives you the edge. The advice of Sir Jock is clearly to map out several things that you can do that will either be unexpected or designed to put the opposition off their guard.

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