When you encounter a possible confrontation, you look for a strategy to figure a way out. It is said that a best way to dissolve a potentially ugly conflict is to NOT tackle confrontation by an equally opposing force. That results in escalation of the conflict not unlike an army laying a siege to a city with thick, high walls. What we can do is, however, provide the confronting party with choices of the path ahead. It significantly kills the aggression and creates an illusion of a victory for those looking for it.
Win-Win Is True Victory
Yes, instead of Win-Lose. As a result, the illusory victory appears otherwise for those who seek the latter. For the wise folks of the Win-Win clan, offering choices (options) of the path ahead (conflict resolution) creates opportunities of a peaceful dialogue where both parties might benefit (by allowing the carrot of the illusory victory dangling in front of those who insist).
By avoiding a confrontation, you save lives (precious time and energy) and avoid a situation where leaders are required to mobilize the troops (improve morale and go into survival mode) instead of the regular, essential tasks. Always better to prevent than cure.
It is ancient and fairly understood (and accepted) wisdom that it is easier to govern happy citizens and easier to trade with happier neighbors. You can never go wrong by keeping people happy and content. You might face difficult times by brewing enmity and insisting on confrontational tactics while dissolving conflicts. Since we are all connected in this vast web of consciousness, encouraging and stoking negative emotions (even in ‘others’) has an unhealthy effect on us. It is tougher to conduct business with unhappy competitors, jealous channel partners, frustrated employees and customers who feel ignored. Keep them all happy and you got a winner.
The Alexandria Strategy
In a battle, the foe is looking to kill something specific. In a marketplace, the priorities of you and your ‘competition’ might differ. You might be looking for consistent growth in market share while your ‘competition’ (I prefer the term Sur-petition, so the quotes) might be focused on profits. It is a very interesting scenario when your foe realizes that you got nothing for them to kill.
The ravaging armies that burnt down the Library of Alexandria could have done little had the scrolls been absent. Had it not been a symbol of greatness, of cultural knowledge and had it been under marketed (intentionally, understanding its strategic importance), it could have been saved. The invaders can be opposed by guerrilla warfare or by something they don’t expect. But confront with what they expect- the Library of Alexandria gets burned down and we don’t have a clear winner.
Snide comments can do little to insult you if you have shelved your ego. By making the bone of contention (according to the other party) non existent, you win half the battle by paving the path for possible cordial relations and healthy discussions. Insert a wooden plank straight down in a flowing stream of water, the resistance will try and push the plank out of the way. Slide it inside with a significant angle, the water gracefully accepts it as its own (probably because it got the required time to understand the plank and its nature well). Give right angles to a road/river and things might go overboard. Give it a gentle curve, life is smoother than before.
Who are we kidding? Of course- we are entrepreneurs/professionals to fight, kill and win battles. But a shrewd strategy saves more lives than a confrontational one. And that’s where the Alexandria Strategy plays a role- hitting them hard without letting them know what hit them!