Summary of Corporate Combat

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Rating

7

Recommendation

If The Art of War graces your shelf, this book is for you. Author Nick Skellon argues that you can apply military lessons to corporate strategy. His theories make for fascinating reading. For instance, he draws parallels between the pitched head-to-head combat of the American Civil War and Burger King’s battles with McDonald’s. Like the Persians harassing the larger Roman forces with raids in 359, Honda attacked Harley-Davidson in the United States in the 1960s by grabbing the clean-cut college kids that Harley avoided. Sure, Skellon stretches the analogy too far, and by the time he gets to case studies such as Wal-Mart, there’s barely a hint of military jargon. Still, getAbstract recommends this intriguing look at corporate successes and failures to readers who realize that brilliant strategy is brilliant strategy, whether on the battlefield or in business.

About the Author

Nick Skellon is a speaker and consultant. A former Army officer, Skellon worked in sales and marketing at several firms, including Mars, Duracell and Rothmans.

 

Summary

The Business Battlefield

If you want to survive and thrive in an ultra-competitive business world, study the military campaigns of great leaders and understand their strategies. War, like business, is a contest for territory and superiority. However, you should apply this analogy with a couple of caveats in mind. First, the strategy’s intent isn’t to glorify war or to encourage companies to put their rivals out of business. Second, the hierarchical management style associated with the military isn’t the right solution to use in today’s business climate. Still, the comparison is valid. Although military campaigns focus on complete destruction of the enemy, while business victories lead to short-term, tactical advantages, the parallel holds because, in reality, most combat ends indecisively. Often when a battle results in a clear victory, either the vanquished forces escape to fight again, or the win doesn’t bring about a quicker end to the war. In fact, most winning armies defeat their foes not through a dramatic blow that destroys the enemy, but rather through the cumulative effects of tactical successes and gradual deterioration of the enemy’s manpower, equipment and resources...


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