Disable your opponent’s centre of gravity–his unique source of balance and strength–and do so quickly and with resolve when you have a window of opportunity.
Whatever you make think of the overall political and strategic rationale, the US-led invasion of Iraq in early 2003 is a textbook case of attacking when the time is right even though you aren’t fully ‘ready.’ Coalition forces invaded Iraq with lightning speed and continually kept the Iraqi forces reeling. The offensive had so much momentum that there was barely time to assemble and process prisoners. American forces headed almost straight for Baghdad–the strategic objective–and didn’t waste time with sidefights and securing flanks. This is also exactly how the German invasion of France in 1940 played out. The Germans headed straight for the Channel coast in order to cut off the bulk of French mobile forces that had moved forward into Belgium where they expected the bulk of the German army to attack.
These historical military examples show that there are occasions when boldness and speed can more than make up for uncertainty, relative weakness, and lack of resources. They also demonstrate that you have to aim for the centre of gravity to disable it as quickly as possible. Whether you’re in sales, product development, procurement, etc., the best objective is to attack your opponent’s or your problem’s centre of gravity quickly and directly.
Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.
© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.