Ukraine Counter Offensive Selling

I remember playing a quiz machine when they first hit pubs back in the day. Multiple choice triv questions. I'm reminded of one that stays pertinent. Along lines of;

How many years in recorded human history have been war-free?

I googled this again today. There's the concept of the 'peace year'. With no conflict inflicted. A much referenced answer comes from a book two decades back, What Every Person Should Know About War by Chris Hedge;

"Of the past 3400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or just 8 percent of recorded history."

What's also interesting is that so called 'low intensity conflict' doesn't get counted as war. So a subjective judgement on where the line lies. In this case, appearing as when lives lost exceed 1,000.

The 'correct' answer I remember from the arcade game, was 320.

Sadly, 2024 will not add to the small tally of peace years.

The hopes of democratic, if prone to corruption Ukraine repelling the invasion by autocratic and mafia state Russia recede.

Their Summer offensive failed to break through to the coast. Will the Spring see that plan revisited, rejigged, or rejected?

There appears to be a trio of selling pointers for those of us who cherish freedom from the attritional approach we've seen take over.

Shaping Operations

Up against a dug-in enemy, laying dense landmines everywhere, to shape the battlefield was felt a way of probing defences before any main attack. Including working out possible measures, signals capability and supply links.

Mike Martin, senior visiting fellow at King’s College London and author of How to Fight a War, writing in Britain's biggest selling broadsheet, The Telegraph;

"Over [April/May 23], the Ukrainians have been conducting preparatory shaping operations. These are designed to soften the enemy, confuse them as to your intentions, and gather intelligence about their strengths and weaknesses. In other words, to shape the enemy to your liking so that they are easier to defeat once you finally attack them."

It seems the sheer numbers of cannon fodder conscripted to meat grinder disposal by Putin coupled with old school heavily fortified trench defence added to the complexity preventing progress.

Yet there does seem a sound practice here for our selling. In some ways, you could argue the traditional solution sell political mapping that plots stakeholders and routes through to them is a slant on this. As is any preparatory investigation as to the direction of the prospect, who's above and below the line of the issue you can resolve, and external pressures that may vex (or inspire) them.

Manoeuvre Warfare

This concept seemed to represent a way of eroding the stalemate. For the Ukrainians, it meant achieving operational success isolating the enemy, by splitting their forces in two (essentially, cutting the Land Bridge to Crimea).

A modern-day 'divide and conquer' plan. I once witnessed a salesperson, who to that point had not demonstrated prowess, use this in post-presentation discussion at a prospect Board meeting. After voices of displeasure, they simply and deliberately asked one key person, 'what d'you think of that?' Worked like a dream.

By acknowledging the separate flanks you can often allow those wishing to drive through to prevail.

Night-time Offensives

It seems the best Ukrainian sorties and attacks happened at night. The main reason appears to be the lack of Russian night-vision kit. Though several factors contributed.

As President Zelensky ruefully explained as Autumn began to bite, “But this is not like a feature movie, where everything happens in an hour and a half.”

Such tactics also hold the advantage of avoiding the glare of the drones that currently proliferate. For now. As infrared and thermal 'vision' arrives.

When can you strike when your 'enemy' can neither search for nor see you?

I'd actually suggest that quick, sharp video calls are an ideal method for this in our selling arena. All the way through to gaining ᴄᴇᴏ-type, 'economic buyer' access. As you might not be able to bump into them in their staff canteen, and have little chance of arranging a formal office drop-in, yet a ten-minute video call is eminently feasible.

Here's to both ours and Ukraine's progress throughout the year.

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