When it comes to war strategy and business strategy, in the eyes of the Chinese, they are the same thing. The only difference is in tactics.

In both, there are two very

important components: deception and waiting. Western business people also practice deception, but not on the scale the Chinese practice it.

Western strategy places almost no emphasis on waiting, which is usually not considered to be a strategy. But for the Chinese, waiting for the right moment to strike is very important, since one can achieve one's goal with a minimum expenditure of energy. There is even a Chinese saying describing this: 事半功倍 which means to magnify one's effect while expending only half the energy. In Chinese culture, someone who waits to strike at just the right moment is considered very intelligent.

In contrast, western strategic thinking, especially American, places much more emphasis on the "kinetic strike", or hitting with massive energy all at once to knock out one's foe. Chinese strategic thinking does not value this, considering this a too expensive expenditure of force, energy and resources when waiting, in almost all cases, would be a much better substitute. The other question Chinese would ask is: "What happens when you expend all that energy, and you don't achieve the end goal you initially sought?" A good recent example would be the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The US and its allies had a quick invasion and initial success, but was not prepared for a long guerilla resistance, and ended up withdrawing in an inconclusive war.

In Chinese strategic thinking, often the end game is not winning, but surviving.

In Chinese strategy, there are two masters: Sun Tzu and Zhuge Liang. Significantly, neither won major battles. Instead, they helped their lords to fight and survive with very limited resources.

Chinese value situational awareness much more than in the west. In the west, more value is placed on focus.

In the west, the main emphasis is placed on achieving one's initial goal, and excluding virtually everything else. This initial goal is usually a single clear focused goal. The whole situation or what the Chinese call "the general environment" 大环境 is virtually never considered or weighed.

In contrast, the Chinese use the term "general environment" all the time. A common phrase is "We can't do this now, the general environment doesn't permit it". 现在不能做,大环境不允许。This means "If we do this now, we may have to pay a heavy price."

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