What made the world’s greatest conquerors unstoppable? From Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Timur-lane to Napoleon, there was an uncanny genius. But it was not only a trump of genius that we call IQ (and EQ), it was more than that. I took upon myself to study the key foundational elements of their magic. The study surprisingly showed that all the great conquerors (aforementioned and others) deployed the same four commons strategies, I call them SIIC – Speed, Innovation, Intelligence and Communication.
Having worked with large number of corporations and hundreds of entrepreneurs over 20 years, I find it un-surprising that there is strong resemblance between the success patterns of these warrior kings and the journey of successful entrepreneurs, startups and corporations.
Lets distill this idea further,
Speed – Rapid decision making, instant maneuverability, lightning movement (execution). Reach the doors of the opponents before they expect you.
The same analogy is applicable to businesses – the success comes to those who execute with speed making quick decisions one after another. They beat their competitors to reach the customers.
Innovation – Unorthodox techniques to overcome every obstacle and challenge. Fluster and exhaust the opponent.
The law of nature states that there are unknowns in every endeavor. At every turn, there are technical hardships, people issues and market dynamics. The ingenuity is to find novel, at many occasions untested means to overcome these challenges. The progress in the path should not be stalled.
Intelligence – It spans two domains – First, having a deep awareness of your own organization’s strengths, weaknesses and motivations. Secondly, having an up to the minute intelligence on competition. It allows for the absolute best positioning till the last moment of battle.
The unfortunate fact is the tolerance of nepotism and mediocrity in organizations. This is the death knell. The leader must practice meritocracy to allow the functioning of the first two strategic pillars of SIIC, that is, Speed and Innovation. This endeavor is never ending as organization grow and people change over time. Thereafter, knowing the competition and customers to the minutest detail coupled with the knowledge of your team’s strengths is the key to designing the most compelling products/services i.e reaching the holy grail of Product Market Fit. Then, layering the deepest market insights to design the most effective go to market strategy.
Communication – Every soldier must know the eventual goal. However, that is not sufficient. What really matters is the ability to communicate with your troops, advisors, organizers, envoys, spies instantly without losing any time. The unobstructed, untampered lines of communication from top to the bottom is the most precious resource to reposition your troops in the face of the adverse dynamic environment.
We see organizations stuck in dark ages with over-reliance on sluggish emails. However, the good news is that technology has now enabled realtime dashboards – these gives us the ability to instantly monitor and control business from development teams, factories to sales. Furthermore, the use of messaging tools like Slack for near realtime collaboration in favor of antiquated mode of communication like email is refreshing. It facilitates rapid response and communication to the relevant stakeholders.
As it turns out, the real genius of these conquerors was the deep realization and their painstaking labor to built the most elaborate organizational systems. The oil so to speak of these organizations was SIIC. It allowed their war machines to enjoy the greatest unfair advantage that the man has ever seen. Again and again, over time spanning decades they vanquished larger enemies marching relentlessly through the most distant lands.
The same rules of SIIC are applied unknowingly by the most admirable and successful companies of today. Can you think of them?
If you want to discuss and see how your organization can deploy SIIC at its foundational core to become agile and gain competitive advantage, drop me a message.