The enemy will not sacrifice dignity or pride easily, even if at times irrational. If an outlet is left, then acceptance of the dire situation can be made and the enemy will choose to surrender. (Cantrell, 16)
If the enemy chooses not to surrender, the overwhelming advantage that one side possesses by means of military advantage would soon close off the one remaining outlet. If the foe is “desperate”, the goal is to encourage surrender without engaging in further unnecessary bloodshed.
Giles further elaborated on what Tzu meant by this excerpt when he stated that the object is to make the enemy realize that there is at least one road to safety. This prevents “his fighting with the courage of despair”. He next adds: “After that, you may crush him.” (Giles 72).
We can see a similarity is regards business strategy. Leaders of companies have often fought hard to get to the market position that they currently hold. They naturally feel that their company, product or service is the best, and usually have an intense dislike of competitors for obvious reasons.
If a company feels overly threatened without letup, they may engage in irrational behaviors by expending vast amounts of scare resources to somehow beat the odds to prevail over the competitor in one particular “battle”. However, if the company with the upper hand does not press unnecessarily hard due to the circumstances, the disadvantaged competitor may come to reason that they need to back off of the current plan and regroup with a new plan.
This saves resources for all sides, since the outcome of the particular strategic business battle is inevitable at that point, barring some very remote and unforeseen occurrence. Companies should keep in mind that a battle is different than a war. Companies will be at war for the length of their business operations in most cases, and to pursue a win of