Brilliant Manoeuvre

Sometimes you need to withdraw in order to come back stronger and fight another day.

One of the things I learned in the military and from my study of history is that you sometimes have to withdraw from a position of weakness where you can’t win in order to come back stronger with a better chance of dominating the field of battle. The Roman legions were expert at doing this, as were the British during the building of their empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. In business we sometimes insist on throwing good money after bad in a losing situation. It’s okay to be persistent, but when you’ve been trying for years to, say, break into a market without much success and it’s burning up huge amounts of capital, it may be time to withdraw in order to fight another day on another battlefield, with different weapons and from a position of strength.

Food for Thought

  • Have you been failing repeatedly with a new product or market despite sustained effort and huge investment in resources? What would be the effect of withdrawing from this approach?
  • Are you maintaining products or staying in markets because of pigheadedness, or because you can truly win with them?
  • Do you have raging successes that you have ignored because they didn’t fit your ideas of the business or strategy? What about more obscure successes within your business?
  • What would it take to elevate these unexpected successes to replace the repeated failures? Can you transfer resources from the latter to the former?
  • Do you have a systematic approach to experimenting with new products, markets, processes, and business models? Are you open to change or do you stick to your approaches in the face of contrary evidence?


Join me for my first ever monthly teleconference series on Brilliant Manoeuvres: How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles . I will be introducing new content and techniques to complement those in the book. The series starts on Friday 20 September 2013 with a monthly call on the 3rd Friday of every month until June 2014. The cost is $100.00 if you register before 14 September 2013. There will be a MP3 download within 48 hours of each call so you can (re)listen at your own leisure.

Register now!

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.

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