This one is also known as ‘Sustainability’ in the British military. I guess they wanted to show they were environmentally aware. (That was a joke you know.) In any case, you may find it a bit odd to see administration (or sustainability) in a listing of success principles, and even more when they are based on the principles of military strategy. In actuality, though, it makes perfect sense.

Administration is about the identification, procurement, and maintenance of all the means of sustenance to carry out military operations. As Napoleon said, “An army marches on its stomach,” meaning that no military commander can hope to achieve his aims without thinking of supply, logistics, and all the planning and preparation that are required for successful campaigning. This is also why money was known in the Middle Ages and early Modern period of warfare as the ‘sinews of war.’ No money, no war. It’s as simple as that.

By the same token, no business can survive for any length of time without properly identifying and securing the resources it needs to carry out its plans and achieve its strategic objectives. Whether it’s a small start up company struggling to find cash to fund its growth or a large multinational that needs billions to feed its global expansion plans, companies need resources to fuel their growth and development. No matter how brilliant the strategy and tactics, if you can’t pay your people, invest in new products and services, create marketing and promotional plans, there will be NO business.

The two key resources, and the ones that underlie all the others are money and people. Money is needed to invest at the beginning and throughout the business’ development. It comes from two sources and two sources only: retained earnings, i.e. profits that are kept in the company; and fresh capital from outside investors. Borrowing is just that, borrowing from future profits and future outside investment.

The other key resource is people. Everything a company does comes out of the minds of people, either working individually or collectively. So, the next time you hear your company say that people is its most important asset, you should believe it, even though the company may only pay lip service to that assertion.

© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.

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