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Amateurs discuss strategy; experts discuss logistics.

This old military maxim simply says that the best strategy in the world is useless if it is not practical and sustainable.

General strategic planning abides by the conditions of its execution. Sun Tzu’s Art of War describes the five constant conditions as: Heaven; Earth; The Commander; The Method and Discipline; and the Moral Law. These conditions serve as the backdrop for any endeavor involving strategy – in business, in war, and even (ahem) in love. This means putting the right forces led by the right leader at the right place on the right time with the right methods guided by what is right (to their purpose or to their organization’s mission).

The external aspects which are the Heaven and Earth refer to the time and space in your business environment. The internal aspects which are The Commander and The Method and Discipline refer to the character and the actions of you and your employees. The fifth condition, The Moral Law, refers to the cause or your business mission/strategic aim that unifies your strategy under any circumstance.

This will give you the best approach of strategy but it won’t give you the excellent one.

Excellence is about effectiveness and efficiency – highest impact with the lowest cost/waste.

When considering the five conditions, don’t look at it on a strategic viewpoint, rather look at it in a logistical viewpoint. Ponder on your operational limits first – your time, your budget, your resources, your available channels/media before formulating the strategy. Honest and realistic introspection of your limits must be done first before knowing the limits of the strategy. This is the key to creating sustainability.