Enlightened Conflict

angry strategizing

August 11th, 2016

if you are not angry you are not paying attention




“It’s time we stop worrying, and get angry you know?

But not angry and pick up a gun, but angry and open our minds.”




Tupac Shakur




This is hardly worth fighting for

But it’s the little petty shit that I can’t ignore

When my fist hits your face and your face hits the floor


It’ll be a long time coming

But you got the message now

‘Cause I was never going

You’re the one that’s going down


One of us is going down

I’m not running,

It’s a little different now

‘Cause one of us is going

One of us is going down



Sick Puppies

<You’re Going Down>





The Olympics is reminding us of a topic which is not discussed often enough in business … angry competition. I call it angry strategizing.

angry strategy yell think business





The Olympics has reminded me about competing angry.


While the Olympics are supposed to be about the love of competition and a better world through sports competition … it is actually about determining the best in the world. And that, my friends, is not about love it is about the rage of competition.

And while I will surely give a nod to respect shown to other great competitors and the aftermath camaraderie that can only be had among the best in the world who have competed the hardest and recognize greatness around them at the Olympics, and how they do so even in loss, I must point out that the Olympic best carry a certain rage into their competitiveness.


It may not be the traditional version of anger but it is most certainly a version of anger.


And it drives them to compete with the intent to beat the shit out of whomever they are competing against and be the best they can be so they can actually be the best.


I say all that because I don’t believe enough business people strategize with some anger. Anger that … well … there are some stupid ideas out there …


some stupid opinions


some stupid attitudes


competitors say and do stupid things


and certainly there is a stupid acceptance of mediocrity.


I know that I have sat in a meeting room with some business partners and looked around at the competition and what they were doing and saying and … angry sign window republicanwell … got angry.


And got angry enough t want and do something about it.



Being angry in business. and, no, I am not talking about being some anger management candidate but I mean planning angry … developing a strategy thinking with some anger about the status quo … maybe even having some anger toward conventional thinking and certainly some anger against whomever you are competing <but you can still respect the ones who deserve the respect while doing so> is effective and leads to effective business strategy to create real distinction in the marketplace.


To be clear.


Anger, to me, is much more useful than disdain.


Disdain breeds some arrogance and certainly diminishes the capabilities of the competition as you think about competing against them. In your scoffing at them it suggests that it is … is … well … just not worth even thinking about.


Anger, on the other hand, suggests you are facing what is straight on … in its face … and taking it head on. Anger guides you not toward some flimsy white space but directly into the fray …  directly toward the space you want in a market <whether it is already occupied or not> and take it.


Or, as Admiral Nelson once said, “you can do no wrong by putting yourself as close to the enemy as possible.”



And you know what?


In business strategy that is smart.


So that is why I call this the angry business strategy.


Certainly … there is only one real way to win … and that is without cheating.

Anger almost forces you to not only recognize that there is no virtue to be found in taking a shortcut <although shortcuts never really exist anyway> … but that there is no long cut or shortcut but rather simply getting up and going … and competing to win.


I am sure someone will point out that it may simply be you look around and get aggravated by what you see and decide to do something about it.


But I think if you have the team, and you have the product or service and you actually have the means to make your mark in the business world … then … well … it is okay if you look around at the competition and the competitive business world and get a little pissed … not just aggravated.


You get a little angry …

This is stupid … there is a better way.


This is crazy … I have a better product.


This is nuts … I can’t believe people believe that shit.


Your anger puts an edge on what you decide to say and do.


Far too often we sit around and have pot after pot of strong coffee and have intellectual discussions on how to smartly effectively compete. We worry through some fairly random details, talk about being the best and then go ahead and be anything but the best.


So … you know what?


If you are better and have a better offering and are truly worth a shit and want people to know you are worth a shit … well then … there is no real intellectual challenge.


You get on with getting on.


You just get competitively angry and stand in the middle of the field and say “here I am, and I am not going down.”


strategy think anger angry business ideas filterI am not suggesting being stupid about competing.


Nor am I suggesting bludgeoning the industry and competitors with some dull edged hammer.


But I am suggesting the anger puts some attitude into your strategy and tactics.


It puts a sharper edge into your sense of competitive purpose.


And here is what I know.


If it isn’t blind anger but rather competitive anger … you won’t tiptoe into your messaging and go to market strategy. You will stride in with some swagger, some confidence and clearly some strong purposeful messaging.


I think … no … I know more businesses would do better to attack their business meeting angry business strategystrategy with some anger.


Get a little pissed about perceptions, attitudes and mediocrity.


Get pissed that people are accepting less than the best and less than real truth.


Get pissed at yourself if you are in a position where you don’t believe enough in yourself and your offering to be able to get pissed.




I do believe more businesses should strategize with some anger.

As Tupac said … not angry and pick up a gun, but angry and open our minds.

on s’engage (you commit yourself)

March 10th, 2014

adapt plans

“On s’engage, et puis – on voit.” <you commit yourself, and then – you see.> – Napoleon




Commitment and patience … and … well … adaptation.


The combination of these three ingredients is a powerful one.

Oddly … not many of us learn this particular recipe.



We engage. With focused commitment I may add <that’s a nice way of saying ‘with blinders on’>.



We then tend to be less than patient. In fact I could suggest we are very often impatient in our engagement <but still committed to the plan>. I would suggest in number 2 that we often underestimate the value of doing nothing <and observing>.



And adapting? Yikes. If we did that we would <in our eyes> bastardize the integrity of the structure of the commitment. In other words … in most situations we are willing to stay the course with a plan … until the bitter end.


In business … many of us commit to a plan of action and believe staying the course creates the highest likelihood to succeed. And in our impatience we plow through opportunities to adapt. In other words … we don’t really ‘see’ … we just commit to a plan.



To be clear.

Napoleon also said “When you set out to take Vienna, take Vienna.”


I share that because the commitment wasn’t to the plan … but rather to the objective. And there is a massive difference.

I sometimes believe in business <and Life too I imagine> we confuse this.


We commit and don’t see.

We commit and implement.

We commit to the means <the plan> and not the end <the objective>.


That said. Why?

Now <part 1>.

freedom and responsibilityThis may also be a reflection of a ‘cover your ass’ world we live in.



If I do what I committed to do <the plan> and it doesn’t achieve the objective … well … “Ain’t my fault. I did what I was told to do” <or the plan everyone agree was the best plan of action>.


The alternative?

As soon as you “see” after you have made the initial commitment … and adapt the plan … well … oops … you have assumed some responsibility.


Now <part 2>.

You can always mitigate that responsibility by going back to the “all those who agreed it was the best plan” and saying ‘here is what I see now that we have actually committed … and I think we should adapt in this way <to increase the likelihood we will achieve our objective commitment>. The problem with this is timeliness. You miss the opportunity to make the change when it should be made. Napoleon was a master of adapting the original commitment within the proper window of ‘adapting opportunity.’

Gaining consensus on adapting <or a change to a plan> is … well … a frickin’ bear. Let’s call it almost impossible. For sure we can call it ‘less than timely.’

Bottom line. Shirking responsibility takes time.




Risk analysis is simply part of business. Always has been and always will be. And it should be. Running a business without doing so is simply chaos … not running a business.adapt new plans




Eliminating risk is impossible. Only mitigating risk is possible. And I could argue that not adapting after committing actually increases risk.

I wish in today’s business world we would spend less time building ‘the perfect plan’ and instead build ‘the best plan we can’ and commit … and see.



-perfect_planNapoleon won a shitload of battles. He wasn’t perfect … and his planning and plans were significantly less than perfect.

But the dude knew how to commit.

He knew how to engage when the window of opportunity existed.

He knew how to ‘see’ <adapt>.

He knew how to keep his eye on the bigger commitment <the objective … see Vienna … take Vienna>.


He didn’t confuse committing to a plan and committing to an objective.


And, frankly, I believe we get confused on this far too often in business.


More business leaders should be saying ‘let’s commit … and see.’ And not just saying the words … but walking the walk so the implementers do not feel as if the plan is something etched in stone.


Adapting is part art <seeing information and feedback as it is absorbed and ‘feeling’ its momentum & conclusions – statistics can lie as well as people can> and part science <making sure you actually see the most relevant information & feedback>.holding universe together matters


Adapting is not for the faint of heart.




To the bold comes the fruits of victory.

Enlightened Conflict