This is the final principle in my list of success principles based on the principles of war and conflict. It is specifically aimed at situations of conflict or competition, when you are facing a person or a group who are trying to get what you want, or trying to prevent you from getting what you want.
Maneuvering is the art of creating dilemmas for your opponents or competitors so they commit to or maintain a particular course of action while you exploit that for your ends. More abstractly, it can be viewed as pitting your strengths against your opponent’s or competitor’s weaknesses.
For this principle to work, you have to know four basic things: your strengths, your weaknesses, your opponent’s strengths, your opponent’s weaknesses. The idea is to concentrate your strengths and force (principle #6) on your main effort by freeing up resources from lower priority areas (principle #7). When you see you’ve found a gap in your opponent’s defences, you can pour resources into the breach in order to exploit your initial success and turn it into a breakthrough.
In order for this to work, you have to find a way to get your opponent to commit to a course of action that will expose his weaknesses while allowing you to exploit your strengths. One way to do this is to find out what his intentions or preconceived notions are and reinforce them. For instance, if a company is planning on entering your market, you can let them do so and reach the point of maximum commitment of his resources. Up to then, you can refrain from a strong response, but once he’s expended his initial effort and resources, then you counter-attack with your own products and services, or by modifying what you’ve already got.
© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.