By Eric Barker
October 7, 2014
IDEAS
Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Successful strategy is about surprise.

Running straight at a problem when it’s well established is suicide. Throughout military history frontal assaults against prepared defenses have failed.

Via How Great Generals Win:

History says you need an element of surprise. Almost all successful attacks have hit enemies from the rear, from the flank, or anywhere it is not expected:

And:

If you’re a little David against a big Goliath, it’s definitely about surprise. You need to break the rules to win.

When underdogs play by the rules, they lose 72% of the time. When they break with established strategy and innovate, they win 64% of the time.

Via Power:

So how do you engineer surprise? Deliberately mislead the enemy.

In his classic The Art of War, Sun Tzu said “All warfare is based on deception“:

Deception is key. You’d be smart to heed the words of The Godfather: Keep your friends close — and your enemies closer.

Research shows dominant leaders really do exactly that:

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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