50. On hemmed-in ground, I would block any way of retreat. On desperate ground, I would proclaim to my soldiers the hopelessness of saving their lives.

圍地吾將塞其闕死地吾將示之以不活

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu’s strategy is to use the element of surprise and momentum to overwhelm the enemy and achieve victory. By cutting off any possibility of retreat for his own troops, Sun Tzu would be ensuring that they are fully committed to the battle and have no option other than to fight to the end. This can be seen as a way to increase the chances of victory, as the troops will be motivated to give their all in order to succeed.

On the other hand, when the situation is desperate and the enemy has no hope of saving their lives, Sun Tzu suggests that the soldiers should be told of this hopelessness in order to increase their motivation and determination to fight on. This can be seen as a way to boost their willingness to fight hard and prevent defeat.

On hemmed-in ground, a business should block any way of retreat. On desperate ground, they should proclaim to their team the hopelessness of maintaining the market.

Hemmed-in ground refers to a market or industry that has limited opportunities for growth and is difficult to exit. In this type of market, a business may feel trapped and have little room to maneuver. In order to succeed, the business will need to push forward even harder and explore every possible opportunity for growth. This may involve taking calculated risks and being innovative in order to find new ways to generate revenue and increase market share. To maximize the chances of success, the business should give no options for their team to retreat from this market, so they will push even more diligently forward. By blocking any way of retreat and focusing on the opportunities that are available, the business can increase its chances of success in a challenging market.

In a market or industry on desperate ground, success can only be achieved through constant struggle. In this type of market, a business may feel that it is constantly fighting an uphill battle and that success is elusive. To motivate their team and increase the chances of success, the leadership may choose to proclaim the hopelessness of maintaining the market to the team. This can serve as a challenge to the team and motivate them to work more diligently to try and prove the leadership wrong by accomplishing the impossible. By being persistent, willing to make sacrifices, and being strategic in how they approach the market, constantly seeking out new opportunities and adapting to changing conditions, the business can increase its chances of success in a market on desperate ground.