The Variation of Tactics chapter of The Art of War emphasizes the importance of flexibility and adaptability in warfare. Sun Tzu argues that a successful military leader must be able to change their tactics and strategies in response to changes on the battlefield. The chapter also emphasizes the importance of knowing your enemy and using surprise and deception to gain an advantage in battle.
In business, adaptability and flexibility are also important qualities for a successful leader. A business can apply the principles discussed in this chapter by being open to changing their strategies and tactics in response to changes in the market or the competitive landscape. This might mean being willing to pivot to a new business model, or adopting new technologies or techniques to stay ahead of the competition. Additionally, a business person can apply the principle of knowing their enemy by conducting thorough market research and staying up to date with their competitors’ strategies and tactics. Using surprise and deception can also be effective in business, for example by launching a new product or service before competitors are expecting it, or by disguising the true nature of a product or service in order to gain a competitive advantage. Overall, the principles discussed in this chapter can be applied to business in order to help leaders stay agile and competitive in a constantly changing marketplace.