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What Strategy Secret Can You Learn From Great Military Leaders? | TIME

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When underdogs play by the rules, they lose 72% of the time. When they break with established strategy and innovate, they win 64% of the time.

Via Power:

As Malcolm Gladwell has insightfully noted,the rules tend to favor—big surprise—the people who make the rules, who tend to be the people who are already winning and in power. Gladwell described research that shows how playing by the rules—following conventional wisdom—in arenas ranging from sports to war favors the already more powerful, while doing things differently and following an unconventional strategy permits even heavily outresourced underdogs to triumph. In every war in the last 200 years conducted between unequally matched opponents, the stronger party won about 72 percent of the time. However, when the underdogs understood their weakness and used a different strategy to minimize its effects, they won some 64 percent of the time, cutting the dominant party’s likelihood of victory in half. As Gladwell noted, “When underdogs choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, they win.” So, if you have all the power you want or need, by all means not only follow the rules but encourage everyone else to do so too. But if you are still traversing your path to power, take all this conventional wisdom and “rule-following” stuff with a big grain of salt.

So how do you engineer surprise? Deliberately mislead the enemy.

In his classic The Art of War, Sun Tzu said “All warfare is based on deception“.

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