The writings of Sun Tzu, which are collectively called The Art of War, are over 2,500 years old, and yet they are as applicable today as they were when they were first written. Throughout Sun Tzu’s writings are the themes of leadership, engagement, communication, planning and preparation, and discipline.
Sun Tzu claims that to succeed in war, one should have full knowledge of one’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of the enemy. Lack of either might result in defeat. The Art of War was written in a universal style that draws parallels between the challenges in business and those of war, specifically:
§ How are you collecting data and does it originate from both internal and external sources?
§ Do you have the right data on your dashboard or are you still largely relying on business intuition?
§ Can you discern any patterns, gain insight, and extract meaning from the data?
§ How is your organization incentivized to positively respond to and learn from the resultant information?
Modern businesses have deployed automation and information technologies that have led to vast amounts of data becoming available. The true art is sieving through large amounts of data, extracting useful information and turning that information into actionable knowledge with an appreciation and understanding of the resultant outcome.