This is Part 2 of 3 of The Craft of Power Summaries
Part #3 can be found here (in progress)
The book is rare and expensive though available on both the Internet and Amazon. You can find it here. Written by Ralph Gun Hoy Siu.
The Craft of Power Summary Part #2
HONING STRATEGIES AND TACTICS
The Eight Axioms
– Don’t confuse the platform for power with levers.
– Platforms are broad and strategic, levers are pointed and tactical.
– A platform is a springboard for many options, each lever is a commitment to a specific act.
– There are eight axioms that form quality strategy and tactics.
– 1: Adjust the objective to the resources, expending neither more for an intermediary target than it is worth in its contribution to the ultimate objective nor less than is needed to gain it.
– 2: Keep the objective always in sight, ensuring a clear line of attack without ending in a cul de sac.
– 3: Shape the operations so as to allow alternative tactical targets, thereby placing the opposition on the horns of dilemma.
– 4: Exploit the path of least resistance, always pointing in the direction of the final objective.
– 5: Pursue the course of least expectation on the part of the opposition, deceiving and beguiling to widen his miscalculation.
– 6: Maintain a flexible posture, responding to exigencies of the unexpected.
– 7: Refrain from repeating a line of attack that has just failed, recognising that the opposition had in all probability the reinforced themselves in the interim.
– 8: Dislocate the opposition, upsetting their strategic balance and disjoining their psychological reserve with goading lures and traps before striking the decisive blow.
– Though the general fundamentals remain the same, there are some small differences in how to obtain power depending on where you trying to obtain it. A king trying to take over a neighbouring kingdom may act a bit differently than an executive trying to overtake the CEO of a company. Calibration of tactics is key.
– When planning a takeover one must consider his options. If a direct takeover is not an option then one must resort to more indirect means.
– A direct takeover is simple. A king marches his army to the neighbouring country and invades. If a direct assault is not an option then resort to an indirect one.
– When resorting to an indirect takeover one must start small.
– Do not mount a new grab for power without a clear plan and knowing what will need to be done.
– Indirect takeover Phase 1: Get your allies appointed to key positions within the enemy structure. For example: a king wishing to take over a neighbouring kingdom indirectly, can get his allies appointed to key military positions in the enemy army and key positions in the enemies council. You start to gradually increase your influence indirectly through your allies that have infiltrated the enemy.
– Phase two: once you have your pawns in place a full on, and swift, take over will be simple.
– [NOTE] The book doesn’t give examples on how to get your allies placed in bed with the enemy but if you are intelligent enough to pull this off then you are intelligent enough to figure it out. I believe the lack of examples is because it’s highly situational. I find that referring to the 48 Laws of Power can help here.
– Be careful to make sure your power grabs remain under the radar for as long as possible. The opposition can’t defend against an attack he doesn’t see coming.
– Timing is everything. Moving at the right time, or at the wrong time, can affect the end outcome. Timing is not to be overlooked.
– Propaganda is useful, use it to your advantage.
– Once you have taken over the opposition you must put in place safeguards that will secure your new power position.
– You cannot always avoid confrontation nor can you always pick the time and place and therefore you must always be prepared for the worst case scenario at all times.
– The following measures can help safeguard your power:
– 1) Know the overall context of your power and the ensuing strategic consideration in its basic and interrelated facets
– 2) Establish a system of deterrence embedded in the tailored laws and rules
– 3) Manifest a system of deterrence backed by the power to punish
– 4) Continue the process of assimilating incipient oppositions
– 5) Defuse trouble spots and attack when necessary
– One of the best ways to maintain power is to make people dependent on you. It is much harder to control people that don’t need you.
– It may be better to be feared than loved but accomplish both and retaining your power will be much easier.
– Those who can’t be bought can be intimidated, those who can’t be intimidated can be bought. Very few are resistant to both.
– If you know you can’t stop dissidents from rising then seek to control instead of eliminating them. Subtly manipulate them into supporting causes that pose no threat to you.
– If you recognise an offence forming against you, a pre-emptive attack, assuming you have the numbers, can be a sound decision.
– If the opposition is strong then instigating a conflict between the opponent and another third party can work well. The third party will weaken the opposition for you. Better yet if the third party doesn’t realise you instigated it and is simply a pawn. Make sure, however, the third party doesn’t grow too strong if he wins and starts posing a threat to you.
– Remember, all these tactics work as well for the king as they do for the office executive. Calibration of tactics is key. Also, refer to The 48 Laws of Power and The 36 Stratagems.
– Opportunist don’t see people as good or bad but simply useful or not useful.
– They are constantly on the look out for opportunities that can help them accumulate more power.
– They are not above creating situations that can lead to opportunities.
– The opportunist will wait when a conflict breaks out, see who the likely winner is, and then align with them in order to gain favour with the victor once the war is over.
– They are often “middlemen” of sorts playing both sides to see who will benefit them the most.
– While playing both sides the opportunist is going to ensure to be the perfect courtier (Law 24) and to keep their hands clean (Law 26) to avoid suspicion.
– The opportunist is like a master chess player, he always plans several moves ahead.
– The opportunist thrives in chaos as chaos creates many opportunities in which the opportunist can then exploit.
– The supreme example of an opportunist is the character of Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish from the Game of Thrones series on HBO.
– History has shown that sooner or later allies ultimately become enemies.
– An ally will sometimes stab you in the back if it is in his best interest to do so especially if the ally is another person of power or person of much ambition.
– You should consider precautionary measures before voluntarily entering into an alliance.
– 1) Figure out if outside help is essential for your specific purpose at hand. Unless circumstances leave no alternative then it’s usually preferable to not seek an alliance. Be wary of making an alliance with a person who does not need you and is also powerful as they could just be using you only to discard you when they are done. They could even be indirectly taking over your power foundation.
– 2) If you do plan to make an alliance then be sure to establish a prior agreement as to what each member must contribute at all points of the alliance. Be suspicious of those who dont want to make a commitment and to those who promise you the moon. Both types are unreliable.
– 3) Maintain constant vigilance to ensure everything is going according to plan. If one ally seems to be intentionally getting too far out of line be sure to take steps to correct or compensate for this.
– 4) Take steps to ensure your ally isn’t simply using you to destory their enemies before turning on you to destory you. If you plan on uisng that stragety to destory someone then plan as if they are aware of your scheme.
– 5) Conduct your operation in such a way that at the time of the joint victory your own resverves and system are not so unbalanced that your competitive position is impoverished. The closer to victory against the common foe you stand, the more closeely should you scrutinise your own fortunes, adjust your balance, and toughen your resilience.
– The prelude to power in modern times is the battle for social or organisational positions, which constitute the decision-making loci governing resources. No chief of state owns the men he directs; no banker the money he manipulates, no bishop the heaven he promises, but they all act as if they do. Such is the common state of affairs in a paraproprietary society.
– There are two considerations to keep in mind as you try to move upwards in a paraproprietary society
– 1) The number of positions available within the inner circle. When on the outside trying to get in it can often be easier to convince the powers at be to enlarge the circle and create a new position rather than trying to displace someone already in the circle thus taking their position. You can also try to convince the powers that be to open up a different and new position that has the powers you want and then give that position to you.
– Once you become a member of the inner circle you should support moves to further restrict the membership. Sharing power is not only a loss of personal power but a threat to what power is left.
– 2) Within the inner circle will be different positions all with different amounts of power. Decide which is the best for your goals and keep an eye on it.
– First step on path to power to assemble a well-knit cadre backed by followers beyond that in numbers adequate for the attainment for the next two milestones. Be VERY cautious about trying to go anywhere without this cadre and be VERY cautious about trying to reach for power beyond the strength of the platform you have constructed.
– Ceaser is a great example. Through his charm and persuasion he gained much credit and favour with many of the senators and through his festivals, he gained favour of the people.
– In general, the magnitude of power in your hands is a direct function of the size of your constituency.
– Strive to increase the number of constituents you have.
– Strive to make all you constituents feel a sense of belonging to the organisation. The also need to feel like you are one of them and that you understand them.
– Minimize the overt expression of superiority by one segment of your followers over another. Example: A roman general ordered that slaves be added to the army to increase numbers and passed law forbidding any roman to belittle the slaves.
– Know and understand the people who follow you so that you can better persuade and control them.
– Continue to strengthen cadre by finding capable people and adding them in.
– Make sure to continue to keep an eye on the cadre though and stop a power struggle before it begins.
– If a person is doing a good job but is threatening you power and you must let him go its often better to do it with “face-saving honors” so he keeps his dignity and you dont create an enemy. However, sometimes its best to make an example of out this person so others fear trying to step up to your power.
– The more corrupt a society the more money you need to control to gain and maintain power.
– The less money you have/control the more well versed in manipulation, deceit, and warefare you must be to ovecome the lack of money.
– People who have risen to power often had to borrow, beg, and steal to get the money they needed.
– In modern America “Super PACs” are a great example. The Candidate doesn’t own that money but controls millions of dollars worth of donations that he can use to further his cause.
– Money is an important factor in attracting and keeping good talent but its not always the only factor.
– Prestige symbols such as reputation, feelings of achievement, publicity, and status symbols often work as well.
– There exist three types if motivation
– Indentitive: prestige symbols
– Utilitarian: granting and withholding of material things
– Coercive: the threat of injury or other punishment
– Generally, indentitive is better than utilitarian which is better than coercive.
– Find out what a perons motivations are and you can find out the best way to control them.
Push & Pull
– Instruments for inducing action can be divided into the push and the pull.
– Instruments of Push deter action by using fear of punishment or injury.
– Instruments of pull offer gains and rewards such as compliments, bonuses, etc.
– Strive to make the gains you give aligned with your goals. Examples: The king offers a Knight a large tract of land if the king wins the war. The office executive offers a bonus if the project his men are working on wins the contract.
– The progressive series in the push pulling of power is: 1) Killing the target individuals, 2) eliminating them, 3) damaging them, 4) threatening them, 5) cajoling them, 6) bribing them, 7) persuading them, 8) seducing them, 9) attracting them, and 10) educating them to your view.
– Generally, you should use the more non-violent ones at the end of the spectrum. If effective they usually result in less backlash.
– In perilous situations, you will sometimes have to resort to the more violent ones. Most people can either be bribed, intimidated, or seduced.
Need to Know
– Only give information to those with a direct need for it else it may fall (or be leaked) into the wrong hands.
– Only give them as much information as they can process so they dont get overwhelmed. Once processed then give them the rest.
– Information is power so you want to control the flow of information regarding you and your operations.
– If trying to usurp someone you must control the amount of information they have. Keep them in the dark, feed them false information, make them confused even.
– The manipulation of information given to the constituency is essential to stay in power.
– If they feel the future is 100% certainly going to be positive and prosperous they are less likley to surrender power to you. If, however, you give them small doses of anxiety and uncertainty, you can retain power over them by making them believe only you can lead them to prosperity.
– Be careful of your inner-circle only telling you what they think you want to hear or worse, only what they want you to hear.
– Be sure to set up communication channels that bypass your staff so you can get accurate information. You want to know what’s really going on and what people really think and feel.
– Remember, people trying to usurp you will attempt to limit the amount of correct information that you are getting.
I hope you enjoyed Part #2 of the Craft of Power Summaries and again I want to thank my friend warped_mindless