Saturday, August 22, 2009


"The unknowing try to defend everything at once, but the knowledgeable look at the main point only; they parry the worst blows and stand a little hurt if thereby they avoid a greater one. If you try to hold everything, you hold nothing." - Frederick the Great

The following is part of an ongoing series or articles & seminar presentations I do on Military Leadership Principles adapted for business owners and managers. The thoughts below were contributed by an old friend who has also been my mentor since the late 80's - S.L.

In business, as in war, the purpose of defensive operations is to buy time, hold terrain, facilitate other operations, preoccupy your adversary, and erode his resources. Your situation & circumstances will always differ; the principles always remain the same. Defending forces await the attacker's blow and defeat the attack by successfully deflecting it. Waiting for the attack is not a passive activity - leaders/managers should seek to strengthen their forces through training and provide no advantage to an adversary before hostile actions begin.


o Is aggressive.

o Uses accurate / integrated direct fire - think "Counter-measures."

o Maximizes firepower, ability to maneuver, and leverage protection - think: "Keep your options open."

o Denies your adversary the ability to use leverage or to gain initiative.

o Contains the following characteristics:
- Preparation
- Effective monitoring and surveillance
- Flexible, adaptive, and exploit opportunities
- Fusion of command & control, technologies, and precision fire

To be ready, one MUST:


o Study the surrounding terrain in great detail with complete understanding - Be knowledgable & totally aware of your operational environment.

o Continually rehearse (either mentally or physically) actions to be taken if an attack occurs whenever and wherever you are at any moment day or night. Have contingency plans, policies and written SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) in place, and make sure your management staff are aware of them.

o Preparations are continuous and in-depth (PACE - Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency).

o Ensure outer perimeter reconnaissance and both inner and outer surveillance are effective and continuous. Be aware of when you are being observed, and when your perimeter is being probed.

o Apply deception wherever feasible - Throw out red herrings; give your opposition false targets to go after.

TO WIN WITHOUT FIGHTING - this is the greatest victory - Sun Tzu

o Make yourself a 'Hard Target' - create the ability / appearance of being "too hard to do."

o Know your job and be prepared to perform it in every way - "Fate Favors the Prepared."

o Detect reconnaissance and surveillance - Know when you are being watched, when your organization is being probed.

o Give your adversary nothing of value that is within your sphere of influence.

- contributed by STORMRUNNER – the "Deacon of Doom", old friend and mentor of STORMBRINGER.


  1. Over the last three years, I have spent a fair amount of time at beer talk considering the utliliy of the warrior identity as an archtype or mental framework for getting things done in world aside from killing. Many other knowledge systems have used the warrior metaphor. Christian soldiers, jihadis, shamballa warriors, soka gakkai buddhists, business people, and other strugglers. This practice is fraught with danger. As long as you recognize the danger I suppose there isn't much of problem. However there is a precident for screwing up business management and other stuff by thinking you are warrior when in fact you are a manufacture of wigets. In the spirtual realm, Islamist extramists and Christian crusaders have done much damage by a logic progression of the notion that daily struggle are best met with a warrior mindset. With your blog post, you refreshed my interest in bashing and ridiculing business managers who like to quote Clauswitz or Patton.

  2. I prefer to have a warrior mindset, instead of a belly crawling snarky know it all-who-knows nothing MBA mindset. Of course business is not war (unless you look at it through the red lens of a marxist, ie class warfare),and only a fool does. (Marxist=fool). An aspect of a warrior is the ability to size up problems and react with time tested solutions. That is what this blogger does, and earns a good living at it I'll bet. Perhaps the fuzzy bunny crew would feel better if people used the term orderly mindset instead.

    obamabots strike again...

  3. v. Clausewitz, Sherman, Patton and Sun Tzu all totally rock.

    Panzer General Guderian had a great one too:

    "Klotzen, nicht Kleckern!"

  4. friends:

    i rather liked this post.

    i don't care much about business. you could lock me up in fort knox for thirty years, and i would not come up with a thimble full of gold.

    just no head for money.

    but, i do like military stuff, especially the theory. (hint: i've had guns pointed at me, once rather convincingly under a bar table, but i have never been shot at. so, i cannot pretend to experience under fire.) and, i like the theories of offense and defense.

    if i'd my "druthers" in a military setting, i would prefer the initiative, given the necessary superiority of manpower & resource. but, you gotta admire people who could do both, and bobby lee comes to mind. he gets all the credit for the great napoleonic flanking movements and such, but, his armies were equally adept if not better at the defense, for which he gets very little credit.

    so, i enjoyed this piece.

    and, i thought of the marines having to root the japanese out of their defenses on iwo jima, and thought of death valley, subject to withering enfilade from two different directions, ... , so, i liked this post very much, and will go back and catch the others.

    john jay