Being predictable is not a very good strategic option. At least when it comes to outsmarting your competitors, you have to bring in an element of surprise.

In business, as in sports and war, deception is a key ingredient. It is all about leaving them guessing. Get them to play ‘catch up’ till the time they are out of their breath, and finally out of business.

I will not delve deeper into ‘how to’ deceive. The only thing to remember is that- Defensive is Predictable. So you will need to be dynamic in your approach for a sustainable long term advantage. Let me give you one example-

You can hint at heavy capital expenditure [buying a new and expensive Linear Accelerator] and get your competition to buy that equipment before you [so that they can be ‘equipped’ before you are]. In the end you do not buy that equipment. Moreover, you sell your existing underutilized machines! To top it all, you use the money generated in an aggressive campaign to capture a new market segment. Competition, which will already be cash strapped, will not have enough financial muscle to fight for the new segment. One smooth act of deception can put you on top. You can now be in a position to drive home the advantage and beat them fair and square in other areas of business.

Words of Caution- Aggressive does not mean reckless. I am not against experimenting and trying to be unpredictable. Proper homework and study is a must for any strategy. In the example cited above you will need a lot of homework to be done before you can even announce your ‘false’ plan of investing in a new Linear Accelerator. You will need to predict the probability of the competitor to buy the new machine. You will need information on their financial position. The personality traits of the decision makers in the opposite camp are an important information to have if you want to predict how they will react.

In short the mantra for this month is – Be unpredictable [but do your planning first] and accurately predict how they will react.


  1. I think it is important to be open to taking an alternative route and thus, not being predictable. But, I do not believe that it is necessarily useful to be unpredictable for the sake of being unpredictable. We need to recognize early enough where exactly we want to get to – in whatever it is we are doing. Thereafter, we need to decide on our strategy. What we need to consider is that our strategy need not always work; being open to course correction is what I feel is important, especially if it helps you achieve your stated goals and objectives.


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