Monday, December 19, 2011

Strategy 101 - The indirect over the direct approach...

“When, in the course of studying a long series of military campaigns, I first came to perceive the superiority of the indirect over the direct approach, I was looking  merely for light upon strategy.  With deepened reflection, however, I began to realize that the indirect approach had a much wider application- that it was a low of life in all spheres: a truth of philosophy.  Its fulfillment was seen to be the key to practical achievement in dealing with any problem where the human factor dominates and a conflict of will tends to spring from an underlying concern for all interests.  In all such cases, the direct assault of new ideas provokes a stubborn resistance, thus intensifying the difficulty of producing  a change of outlook.  Conversation is achieved more easily and rapidly by unsuspected infiltration of a different idea or by an argument that turns the flank of instinctive opposition.  The indirect approach is as fundamental to the realm of politics as to the realm of sex.  In commerce, the suggestion that there is a bargain to be secured is far more important than any direct appeal to buy.  And in any sphere, it is proverbial that the surest way of gaining a superior’s acceptance of a new idea is to weaken resistance before attempting to overcome it; and the effect is best attained by drawing the other party out of his defenses.” – B. H. Liddell Hart  (Strategy)

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