What are the similarities and differences between a military strategy and a business strategy?
In my opinions, both military strategy and business strategy share a number of common concepts and principles. Both strategies aim to gain competitive advantage, involve a significant commitment of resources (e.g. manpower, equipment and money) and are not easily reversible once implemented. Thus, both strategies will involve making use of the company or troop strengths to exploit the competitor’s or enemy’s weakness. The success of both strategies requires deliberate planning, constant improvements and proper implementation. On top of that, having a good awareness and understanding of the opponent will enhance the success rate. This can be done through information systems that provide data on the opponent’s resources and strategies. Innovation and the ability to adapt to changes in the external circumstances are essential to the success of both strategies. The element of surprise further provides a huge competitive advantage to both a military strategy and business strategy as the competitors will be caught off-guard and are thus not prepared to react to the situation.
Despite having some similarities, there is a fundamental difference between a military strategy and business strategy. The objective of a war is usually to defeat the enemy while the purpose of business rivalry is seldom so aggressive. Most business enterprises tend to seek coexistence, rather than compete head-on with each other which will result in the destruction of their competitors, or even their own businesses. Coexistence is important because external economies of scale may be reaped through the sharing of information and resources in the industry, especially for the Research and Development industry where transfer of knowledge is vital so as to prevent repetition and wastage of resources.