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