Simple and light.
Have a PACE for everything.
Make it asymmetrical, stack advantages.
Act, don’t react.
Target dictates the weapon and the weapon dictates the movement.
These are principles that have helped me across a variety of activities: war, alpine climbing, work, red teaming, hard times… I tried to simplify the concepts as much as I could, focusing on things that can be applied together.
1. SIMPLE AND LIGHT
Keep everything simple. Simple things are easy to change when you need to. Simple plans will adapt better to the ever-changing conditions in the field. Simple things are easy to understand and explain, especially under stress.
I also believe in being nimble. Being light allows you to move faster, more fluently. Being light allows you to be more efficient.
2. HAVE A “PACE” FOR EVERYTHING
PACE: Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency. A military way of building a communication plan. However it can be applied to all planning and things. It’s about having a Plan B, but also understanding that everything will eventually fail. Have contingencies and an escape plan. Be ready for the worst. When it happens, you’ll know what to do.
3. MAKE IT ASYMMETRICAL, STACK ADVANTAGES
It’s not what you do, it’s when and how you do it. It’s making sure the odds are in your favor. If you want to be successful you have to make it happen. Fight with small team tactics, a guerrilla. Make things stack in your favor. Then execute.
4. ACT, DON’T REACT
Don’t wait for things to happen, be proactive. Go for it and be ready. It’s too late if you have to react after something happened. Red team it. Plan 2-3 steps ahead, and make it asymmetrical!
5. TARGET DICTATES THE WEAPON AND THE WEAPON DICTATES THE MOVEMENT
In the military, once you understand the target you need to attack, you will select the right weapons. This, in turn, will indicate how you’ll move to get there since you might have to carry a big load.
Don’t get caught on a technique, or a method, or a tool, or on planning. Adapt. Things are dynamic and they depend on your target. The thing you are tying to achieve will dictate what you use and how you get there. Once you know your target, you can then decide what you need to use to hit that target. Once you know what you need to use or do, then you’ll be able to understand how you will need to move and reach that target. In other words, don’t be stuck on a technique or tool, adapt it to the target, focus on understanding what is the best tool or technique to achieve that target, and then you’ll be able to plan (move) to make it happen.
(Note: this principle was taught to me by Richard “Mack” Machowicz, one of the most interesting people I’ve met. Sadly, he is no longer with us.)