Don’t confuse business with war

The business world is filled with metaphors that are derived from the world of combat.

To capture a market or a market share.”

Takeovers – hostile or otherwise.

To have a sales force.

To destroy the competition.

To conduct marketing campaigns.

To build a moat around your business.

To fight a price war. 

To headhunt talent.

And on and on…

Even the word “strategy” comes from the ancient Greek word for “general” in a military campaign.

But business is not war. War is the act of fighting over limited resources. War is a zero sum game. Business is the act of multiplying value that resources can yield. By definition, it is a positive sum game.

When we use war metaphors in business, we confuse business with war. We become obsessed with the competition. We employ aggression instead of cool-headed thinking. We build an air of desperation around unrealistic goals. We cut corners and use the ends to justify any means. And we fight zero-sum battles everyday instead of engaging in creative and profitable problem solving.

All might be fair in war. But business isn’t war.

Inspiration:  It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson


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