The Gravity of Strategy

5 Oct

“The Seven Pillars of Gravity” define the physical and abstract nature of our adversaries.

Strength and weakness, both physical and abstract, are mixtures of Yin and Yang. Where nothing remains stagnant, where strong becomes weaker, and weak becomes stronger in changing cycles. Where strength and weakness is brought about by influences. Then it stands to reason that we can influence things, to either make them stronger or weaker. By linking certain common attributes of business design to concepts, we can create models of any contemplated aspect of company design and relate it back to a physical form, to see where it is strong and weak. Then, by identifying and studying their objectives, we will be able to get a better idea of what is their strategy is all about, identifying their abstracts of reasoning, where are they hoping to go with it and what are they doing both right and wrong to get there. The picture becomes clear, then the abstracts of their strategy becomes concrete and factual to us. We deal better on factual basis as opposed to hypotheses and assumptions with finding solutions. We have now successfully identified the two crucial aspects of disseminating a design, and defined the physical and abstracts strengths and weakness of the adversary. Remember, every strategic aim consists of commonalities; the vision, mission and objectives. However, these attributes of strategy conceal the tactics used, it does not define the actual flow and direction for us, where one objective can become several objectives with smaller goals, that requires “things” in order to work. We can influence thought and the abstract of it, but we can create or destroy physical means. With strategy, something’s are physical, clearly observable and tangible, and other things are of abstract nature – mainly referring to reasoning, culture, paradigms etc… Combined they form the organisation and its purpose. However, what they all require is a vehicle to bring them into effect, and that vehicle is systems. Systems need things and people to operate, so that makes them the perfect target, for it is the weakest, as it is the most reliant and vulnerable to change, influence and its dependencies. Where abstracts – their “objectives”- are seen as essential forces of strategy that cause “gravity” – weakness – because they need things to survive too, and they could exhaust resources and place burdens on systems.  Objectives, with sub-ordinates, causes a polarity, that impacts on other parallel objectives, that impact on the total system at some point or stage. If un-checked it could cause failure, bottlenecks, or total systems collapse.  Therefore, if we target certain main objectives and systems, we can cause the strategy and the organisation to fail. In order to achieve success in business one must achieve objectives and goals consistently and well. If we want to succeed whilst gaining momentum, we have to find ways to minimise risk and weakness, thus eliminate gravity, by closing the door on our competition, and as we do, we will gain some better competitive advantages. Our focus as organisation must shift to our ability to sustain systems, the ability to change objectives, and create situations that causes friction for the opposition, and not us, where the competitions system becomes stuck, or weak, because of the pressure we are exerting on them because of our strategy. By making them adhere to our tactics, then we can create and dictate the trend, either by destroying, or depriving them of their ability to stop us. This is also known as manoeuvring. In order to obtain this objective, we focus on physical means first, to understand what they are, and how are they structured to form the organisation. We can employ the7 pillars of gravity model, to serve as the focus point of efforts in planning our EBO. This gives us an ideal three-dimensional model of our radical strategy and that of the opposition, we are not designing strategy in a silo. By having analysed the physical attributes of the adversary, we take that data and deposit it into our model. Anything that can function on its own and is free and able to make decisions, as to where it will go and what it will do, has a determinable character, with attributes, like an organism, that leaves an influence and signature in its habitat. Depriving an organisation of its physical means, or distorting its gravity – making it weaker where it is weak already – won’t always stop it, but a mix of both will, combined. Having defined the opponents systems attributes – then pillars emerge, it then gets broken down into the seven pillars.

The first Pillar is the core or leadership. – Here we build up a profile of who the leaders are, how they makes decisions, and how they get influenced. Their individual character traits, are they emotional, conservative, echo centric, or bureaucratic decision makers. If we ask the right questions we get the right answers. By finding opposing forces, like we saw in the yin yang model, we can draw many conclusions and assumptions. Chief executive officers leave trails and we can interview people to ascertain more information about them, providing us with a clear view of the brain behind the strategic direction, the guidance and control over the entire system.  Breaking one finger, will render a hand useless. We don’t want to take on the whole organisation just their weakest links. If we identify that their command and control element is it, then that is where we will focus on. “It and it alone is absolutely essential in the sense that there can be no substitute for command and control, and without the brain the body becomes useless, even though technically alive, it is no longer operating at the strategic level.”  The organising portion of the entities possesses will stall, the ability to decides the who, what, where, when and how, will become severed and useless. Direction and movement will depend greatly on the influence of the “head”. 

The Second Pillar is called organic essentials or physical means. – liken to food and oxygen for humans. Things that we cannot live without. Logistics; Service Providers, Manufactures, Transport grids, Warehousing, Transportation and Suppliers. The organisations life blood, where the heart and lungs pump blood and air as organic essentials without which, “the brain cannot perform its strategic function.”  Organic essentials are not of equal importance to the brain because, “a heart without a brain, is a very expensive, complex pump without meaning or ability to act or effect.” We could start buying stock from the same supplier and be willing to pay more should he agree to only supply to us for the next year, exclusivity contracts, sole supplier mandates, this could include buying out the transportation contractor of our opposition and using them for other contracts that we have negotiated. Offering better services to his suppliers, buy buying bulk materials and selling the over flow to other suppliers. In short, everything that the businesses requires or are reliant on to function, as its support systems and life lines, is viewed here.

The third Pillar is the infrastructure or bones. – Blood vessels and muscles, they are important but we can adopt work-around capabilities to enable us to function without them.  Infrastructure can move the organic essentials and support the brain but the body can exist without them. By spreading your vulnerability across a wide front by decentralising and flattening your organisational structure as a first step, you will in essence be out designing your competition. Here we focus on structural design and how to change the nature of the skeleton, of the beast. By streamlining structure, we will be speeding up and will produce faster turnaround times…The other aspect is a foot can compete with a foot and a hand with a hand, so do not try to break a market by introducing a structure that will not fit. Partnerships are not off the cards here as well, many big monopolies do this, they merely trade under different brand names but in essence all the working parts are the exact same thing, it is just the designs and interfaces that have changed. The customers are happy and high quality goods are under mass production, bring down prices so the same two seemingly competitors are flooding a market with high quality goods that their competitors just cannot match.

The fourth Pillar is population, cells. – The human capital and corporate culture they have -a human body can lose a substantial amount of cells (people) and continue to function effectively, we need to find out if this will hold true here as well. Is this organisation held together by, ethics and feelings of job security, loyalty and or financial gains for hard work, performance orientated…. If not what is the glue? What holds it together during hard and difficult times? Do a SWAT analysis, of the competitor. 

The fifth pillar is the defensive mechanism.  – That forms the protective ability of the organism to defend itself – its immune system.  The interconnectivity of the human element with the systems and the set of subsystems, what type of interfaces and communication systems, protocols and policy within each pillar is seen to be fundamentally strong or weak, viewed as parts of the system, a microcosm of the larger entity.  To relate this aspect of the human body model, how would a weak heart effect the system, how would an injury to the structure affect that organ, (if the chief designer were to resign) or the total loss of one part of the system, would it have a significant impact on the remaining parts. 

The Sixth Pillar is understanding their strategy and design. – By taking these two ideas of interconnectivity and its effects, and interlocking them – how well are they aligned with their strategy – perfect, or asymmetrical. We create a model, which provides planners and strategist with the ability to examine the adversary as a system within a strategy, because it (the model) “tells us what detailed questions to ask and it suggests a priority for the questions that should follow”.   It is believed that the commander is at the heart of the strategy centre; the next pillar includes the organic essentials, or logistics.  Lines of communications; the command and control structure, its interlocking networks that form the infrastructure or third pillar.  Support staffs form the fourth pillar and the influences form the fifth pillar, is an applicable tool for campaign design and operational planning focus. Having identified all their centres of gravity – is it designed to be technically superior and expensive, or simple and multiple.

The Seventh Pillars of tactical and strategic advantage.  Developing your own forms of attack and counter attack gives rise to the formation of “parallel attack.”  Parallel attack is the ability to strike at a vast array of  “targets” across a strategic front. By having a decentralised structure, your system can function in silos, should the main system come under attack, the rest will still function uninhibited. Thus when “attacking” a centralised controlled structure, it is very easy to predict how it will respond with tactics and strategy, even when it is routed, so its history holds its future because of the pillars that support it. However, when decentralised, you have many autonomous “smaller heads” and “ smaller pillars” that are strategically and tactically empowered to act compellingly different. How will you attack that? Hereby rendering them less susceptible to a single attack that will dislodge and defeat them. Thus attacking in parallel would cause significant damage and not enable the competition to rebuild his losses.  Serial attacks are the opposite of parallel attack in which only a small number of targets are struck and in doing so, enable the enemy to quickly repair any damage.  Instead of just focusing on only 1 or 2 targets, forces in parallel attack would disperse and simultaneously strike a wide array of targets, at the operational and strategic level.  When targets are diversified, the perception and paradigm, the abstracts are better attacked, that the physical. In striking these simultaneous with parallel blows, the competition loses hope and balance, striving to achieve the effect of “reducing the effectiveness of the overall system.” Just by changing perception. In this theory the centre of gravity is unpacked into the “Seven pillars of gravity”, or the seven joints of balance, it also supports the linkage of this concept to executing effects based operations. This model views centres of gravity, as composed of both vulnerabilities and strengths, always changing, depending on how they are designed and approached. The Seventh Pillar is all about understanding and finding external influences to counter internal influences beforehand. The seventh pillar is an internal look at what we have, opposed to what they have, and how to best utilise it against the opposition if it comes to that, both in attacking him, or defending us from him, or a counter attack. How to hide our own vulnerabilities and exploit that of the competitions, what can we learn, apply, and share if need be, it is all about developing models of expertise, running simulations, and scenarios, to know the enemy is to know oneself it is said. This knowledge is formulated as doctrines to counter competitor’s strategies and to be ready to attack them if they attack you. Battle is not the place where you want to face reality for the first time, and wish you had a few tanks as well. People who say, that no one will use tactics like this in business, it’s too farfetched, and absolutely ludicrous, are naive.    

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3 Responses to “The Gravity of Strategy”

  1. Jon Thrun October 24, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable info to work on. You have done an impressive job and our entire community will be grateful to you.

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