1st Edition

Clausewitz Talks Business An Executive's Guide to Thinking Like a Strategist

By Norton Paley Copyright 2015
    264 Pages
    by Productivity Press

    Clausewitz Talks Business: An Executive's Guide to Thinking Like a Strategist distills the wisdom of Carl von Clausewitz's monumental 1832 classic On War—considered by many eminent scholars as the most distinguished Western work on war ever written. This book transposes Clausewitz's most enduring concepts on leadership and strategy to help today's executives and managers think like strategists.

    Tapping into the universal lessons of strategy, the book uncovers potential solutions to some of the most obstinate competitive problems. It supplies readers with an understanding that integrates historical references with modern business practice. Commentary is inserted at key points in Clausewitz's original text to interpret and transpose his core ideas and to demonstrate how they apply in today's increasingly competitive environment.

    Maintaining a focus on modern leadership and strategic planning, the book explains how the human element influences the outcome of a competitive confrontation. It provides tips on the physical and psychological dimensions of conflict, which include Clausewitz's discussions about dealing with the inevitable forces of friction, chance, and luck that operate in the "fog of war."

    In this book you will find timeless principles that will help you think more strategically. In particular, Clausewitz's lessons can be indispensable in the everyday management of your people and resources, especially when applied in competitive environments.

    By focusing on Clausewitz's writings on human behavior, leadership, and organizational culture, you will gain a better understanding of how you currently face up to competitive struggles, and in turn, will enhance your ability to apply appropriate strategies to outmaneuver the competitive obstacles on the horizon.

    What Is Conflict?
    Conflict as an Act of Force
    The Maximum Use of Force
    The Aim Is to Weaken the Rival
    The Human Will: Not a Wholly Unknown Factor
    Conflict Consists of Several Successive Acts
    Strategic Aim Is a Calculation of Probabilities
    Actions Cannot Be Interrupted
    Defense as a Stronger Form of Fighting
    Factors That Can Suspend Action
    Chance Makes Conflict a Gamble
    Chance Best Suits Human Nature
    Conflict Is Based on Strategic Direction—Never as an Isolated Incident
    Conflict Is the Continuation of Policy by Other Means
    All Conflicts Can Be Considered Acts of Strategic Direction

    Purpose and Means in Competitive Conflict
    Reducing the Opponent’s Effectiveness
    Make the Conflict More Costly for the Opponent
    Wearing Down the Opponent
    The Human Dimension: Personality and Personal Relationships
    Employing Forces
    Reducing the Opponent’s Capabilities
    The Interaction of Physical and Morale Factors

    On Genius
    Information Is the Realm of Uncertainty
    Intelligence Alone Is Not Courage
    Presence of Mind: The Capacity to Deal with the Unexpected
    The Longing for Honor and Renown
    Strength of Mind
    Strength of Character
    Conflict and the Physical Nature of the Field
    Intellectual Standards

    Strategy (Part 1)
    Physical Effort: One of the Great Sources of Friction
    Intelligence: A Serious Source of Friction in Conflict
    Friction Distinguishes Real Conflict from Conflict on Paper
    Action in Conflict Is Like Movement in a Resistant Element
    Moral Values Cannot Be Ignored in Conflict
    Principal Problems in Formulating a Theory of the Conduct of a Conflict
         First Characteristic: Moral Forces and Effect 
         Second Characteristic: Positive Reaction
         Third Characteristic: Uncertainty of Information
    A Positive Doctrine Is Unattainable
    Alternatives That Make a Theory Possible: The Difficulties Vary in Magnitude
    Theory Should Be Study, Not Doctrine
    The Nature of Ends and Means, and Means and Ends in Tactics
    Ends and Means in Strategy

    Strategy (Part 2)
    Art of Conflict or Science of Conflict?
    Conflict Is an Act of Human Intercourse
    Method and Routine

    Engagements and Their Consequences
    Elements of Strategy
         Moral Factors 
         Superiority of Numbers 
         Concentration of Forces in Space 
         The Strategic Reserve 
         Economy of Force
    The Suspension of Action in Conflict
    Tension and Rest: The Dynamic Law in Conflict 

    The Engagement in General
    The Engagement in General—Continued
    The Significance of the Engagement
    Duration of the Engagement
    Decision of the Engagement
    Mutual Agreement to Fight
    The Engagement: It Is Decision
    The Effects of Victory
    The Use of the Engagement
    Strategic Means of Exploiting Victory
    Retreat after a Lost Engagement

    Attack and Defense
    The Concept of Defense
    Advantages of Defense
    The Relationship between Attack and Defense in Tactics
    The Relationship between Attack and Defense in Strategy
    The Character of Strategic Defense
    Interaction between Attack and Defense
    Types of Resistance
    The Attacker
    The Defensive Battle

    Defense of an Area of Operations
    Phased Resistance
    Where a Decision Is Not the Objective

    The Nature of Strategic Attack
    The Object of Strategic Attack
    The Diminishing Force of the Attack
    The Culminating Point of the Attack
    Neutralization of the Opponent’s Forces
    The Offensive Battle
    Attack on Defensive Positions
    Attack on an Area of Conflict: Seeking a Decision
    The Culminating Point of Victory

    Absolute Conflict and Real Conflict
    Interdependence of the Elements of Conflict
    Scale of the Objective and of the Effort to Be Made
    Definition of the Objective Continued: Limited Aims
    Conflict Is an Instrument of Policy
    The Limited Aim: Offensive War
    The Limited Aim: Defensive Conflict
    The Plan of a Conflict Designed to Lead to the Total Neutralization of the Opponent



    Norton Paley has brought his world-class experience and unique approach to business strategy to some of the global community’s most respected organizations. Having launched his career with publishers McGraw–Hill and John Wiley & Sons, Paley founded Alexander-Norton Inc., bringing successful business techniques to clients around the globe, including the international training organization Strategic Management Group, where he served as senior consultant.

    Throughout his career Paley has trained business managers and their staffs in the areas of planning and strategy development, raising the bar for achievement, and forging new approaches to problem solving and competitive edge. His clients include:

    • American Express
    • IBM
    • Detroit Edison
    • Chrysler (Parts Division)
    • McDonnell-Douglas
    • Dow Chemical (Worldwide)
    • W. R. Grace
    • Cargill (Worldwide)
    • Chevron Chemical
    • Ralston-Purina
    • Johnson & Johnson
    • USG
    • Celanese
    • Hoechst
    • Mississippi Power
    • Numerous midsized and small firms

    Paley has lectured in the Republic of China and Mexico and he has presented training seminars throughout the Pacific Rim and Europe for Dow Chemical and Cargill.

    As a seminar leader at the American Management Association, he conducted competitive strategy, marketing management, and strategic planning programs for over 20 years. Published books include:

    • The Marketing Strategy Desktop Guide
    • How to Develop a Strategic Marketing Plan
    • The Manager’s Guide to Competitive Marketing Strategies
    • Marketing for the Nonmarketing Executive: An Integrated Management Resource Guide for the 21st Century
    • Successful Business Planning: Energizing Your Company’s Potential
    • Manage to Win
    • Mastering the Rules of Competitive Strategy: A Resource Guide for Managers
    • Big Ideas for Small Businesses
    • How to Outthink, Outmaneuver, and Outperform Your Competitors: Lessons from the Masters of Strategy

    On the cusp of the interactive movement, Paley developed three computer-based, interactive training systems: the Marketing Learning Systems, Segmentation, Targeting & Positioning, and the Marketing Planning System. Paley’s books have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, and Turkish.

    His byline columns have appeared in The Management Review and Sales & Marketing Management magazines.