Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Art of Strategic Assessment

When assessing our competitors, our clients and the grand settings, we ask many questions based on the principles of Sun Zi's Art of War and the rest of the Chinese eight strategy classics.

Following are some of the questions based on the ground level situations:
  • Who is on offense and who is on defense?
  • Who is taking the offensive initiative and who is responding properly?
  • Who is taking the unorthodox approach and who is taking the orthodox approach?
  • Who is in the state of vacuous and the state of substantial?
  • Who is reckless and who is weightless?
  • Who is profiting and who is being harmed?
  • Who is fighting under the state of security and who is fighting under the state of danger?
  • Who is willing to fight to the death and who is fighting to seek life?
  • Who is hungry and who is stated?
  • Who is fatigued and who is at ease?
  • Who is close to victory and who is close to total defeat?
  • Who is advancing and who is retreating at this moment?
  • Who is displaying the state of provocation and who is displaying the state of compulsion?
  • Who is implementing their plans from remote and who is implement from the ground zero?
  • Who is utilizing the "soft methods" and who is utilizing playing "hard methods"?
  • Who is displaying the image of "slowness" and who is displaying the image of "quickness"?
  • Who is displaying the image of "order" and who is displaying the image of "disorder"?
  • Who is displaying the emotion of anger and who is displaying the emotion of spirit?
  • Who is displaying the action of retreating and who is displaying the action of pursuing?
  • What is reality and what is illusion?
Is this how you assess yourself and your opposition?

With the strategic assessment module of our Compass AE process, one starts with a top down view and analyze their grand settings in terms of the following:
  • strategic position;
  • strategic advantage;
  • weaknesses and strengths;
  • competitive terrains;
  • competitive situations;
  • nine contingencies;
  • the planning of the strategic campaign;
  • the deployment of the implementing team;
  • the engaging of the team;
  • the use of intelligence;
  • the intent of the campaign; and
  • the strategic influence.
The strategic assessment module of our Compass AE process is more detailed than your usual SWOT process.

If you are interested in learning more about our Compass AE process, please e-mail us at service[aatt]collaboration360[dott]com

Copyright: 2008 © Collaboration360 Consultants (C360 Consultants).
Copying, posting and reproduction in any form
(without prior consent) is an infringement of copyright

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Using Statistics to Assess the Grand Situation

Secure data on your opposition.

Assess the data.

Discover the habits and tendencies of yourself, the other competitors and the grand settings.

Understand the strengths, the weaknesses, the opportunities and the threats of each competitor is not enough.

With the "strategic assessment" module of our Compass AE process, you will understand the opposition's strategic position from the different views of the grand settings.

The more you learn about yourself, your competitors and your grand settings from the different views, the better your chance of understanding yourself, your opponent and the grand settings.

With our Compass AE process are your guide, you will find the critical path of least resistance.

Copyright: 2008 © Collaboration360 Consultants (C360 Consultants).
Copying, posting and reproduction in any form (without prior consent) is an infringement of copyright

# # #
November 23, 2008

Titans' Against-the-Grain Defense


It was not long after Jim Schwartz began an unpaid internship with the old Cleveland Browns, driving scouts and players to the airport, and buying cigarettes for the coaches, that he bumped up against football's poured-in-concrete conventional wisdom.

Schwartz, now the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans, had an economics degree from Georgetown University, an abiding fascination with statistics and a preference for watching game film over television. That made him a kindred spirit with his first N.F.L. boss, Bill Belichick. But when Schwartz told Belichick his findings from an early N.F.L. research project almost 15 years ago, Belichick said he did not believe him.

"Fumbles are a random occurrence," Schwartz said he told Belichick. "Being able to get interceptions or not throw interceptions has a high correlation with good teams. But over the course of a year, good teams don't fumble any more or less than bad teams. Bill didn't agree. He said, 'No, good teams don't fumble the ball.' But actually, they fumble just as often as bad teams."

With the Titans, Schwartz once encouraged the former offensive coordinator Norm Chow to run more on third-and-short because his research indicated that it was more effective than passing.
Unorthodox thinking like that has earned Schwartz, 42, a reputation as one of the N.F.L.'s leading practitioners of statistical analysis "Moneyball" for the shoulder-pad set using them in coaching the defense for the league's only unbeaten team.

In Schwartz's eighth season as the coordinator, the Titans' defense is ranked sixth entering Sunday's game here against the Jets (7-3). The ranking is based on yards surrendered.
"Who cares who is leading in yardage?" Schwartz said, pointing out that allowing a 12-yard run raises the total but is meaningless on a third-and-20 play. No statistic matters more to coaches than fewest points allowed, and by that measure, no team comes close to the Titans (10-0). They are giving up 13.1 points a game, 1.4 points fewer than the second-ranked Pittsburgh Steelers. But Schwartz, perhaps more aware than most of how numbers can be manipulated, did not embrace that figure without explanation.

The Titans gave up their most points of the season, 21, to Indianapolis. But the Colts scored 7 points with little time remaining, when the Titans were leading by 17. Against Kansas City, the Titans allowed 10 late points after the starters were pulled in a 34-10 victory. So the Titans average fewer than 13.1 meaningful points allowed. With an offense that relies on the run, not downfield passing, the Titans are built to win close (read playoff) games. That leaves the defense with little margin for error. The Titans are defined by multitalented players who are effective in different styles. The Titans used eight-man fronts to stop Jacksonville's running game in the season opener, then played a cover-2 defense to thwart Cincinnati's passing the next week.

With a line featuring Albert Haynesworth, perhaps the league's best defensive player, the Titans generate pressure on quarterbacks with minimal blitzing. (An addendum to Schwartz's fumble analysis: good teams sack the quarterback, and forcing a quarterback to fumble is a lot easier than taking the ball from a running back or a wide receiver.) Players credit the defensive coaches for their ability to correct mistakes quickly the Chicago Bears converted three consecutive third-down attempts on their opening drive against the Titans, but none the rest of the game and for the detailed preparation that dovetails with what linebacker Keith Bulluck called Schwartz's "little hobbies." Kyle Vanden Bosch said: "Especially from a defensive lineman standpoint, we don't usually pay attention to formations and down and distance. He has that broken down for us. We know what to expect out of certain formations, and what plays they can run. It's unusual for a defensive line. But we have a quiz in front of the whole defense on Friday, and he expects everybody to know that." Belichick regards Schwartz as one of the smartest coaches he has been around, and in recent years, Schwartz has become a candidate for several head coaching jobs. He is almost certain to be a front-runner as positions open this year. But being known as a "stats guy" is not necessarily a compliment, because statistics do not hold the romantic place in football that they do in baseball.

Although every coach uses plenty of data the Titans' Jeff Fisher tracks how long his team takes to break the huddle football is unlikely to bestow statistics-driven celebrity on anyone the way the baseball book "Moneyball" did on Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics.

Schwartz has met with the developers of a computer program to analyze difficult play-calling decisions, and he has watched film with Aaron Schatz, an author of "Pro Football Prospectus," who uses unusual statistics to analyze the game. But at the same time, Schwartz shuns the impression that creates, stressing that statistics are just another tool in game preparation.

"Sometimes, that's an easy thing for people in the media to use against you," Schwartz said. " 'Oh, yeah, he can't adjust; he's just a stats guy. They don't really understand the game.' That's why sometimes, the whole stats thing is a dirty word.

"If you ask me, Would you rather have a great fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants guy on Sunday, a guy who can dial up plays and he'd be the best in league, or a guy who is best in the league from Monday to Saturday preparing, I respect the guy who prepares. You're not always going to be rolling 7, 7, 7 and be hot every week. But if you prepare well during the week, you'll be consistent from week to week."

Numbers have long threaded through Schwartz's thinking. His father was a police officer, and when they watch television together and see a news report about a murder, his father will mention what percentage of women are murdered by their husbands. When Schwartz was growing up in Baltimore, the Dallas Cowboys were the best team in football. They used a computer analysis of prospects as part of their forward-thinking draft preparation.

"They used that not to press a button and have the computer say, 'This is your draft pick,' " Schwartz said. "It was more to guide them — these are important traits to look for. That's the way we use it."

The 16-game season provides a small sample, a shortcoming of football statistics. So Schwartz breaks down each drive as if it were its own game. Twelve drives, say, multiplied by 16 games is a much bigger sample.

/// Micro-assessing the grand situation.

Yet Schwartz rejects one Beane quirk revealed in "Moneyball" — that he does not like to watch games because he cannot stand how random events may influence the outcome. Schwartz, a former college linebacker, calls the defensive signals from the sideline rather than the press box, so he can look at his players and gauge their physical feedback. The Titans' attacking style — what Vanden Bosch called "forcing the issue" — seems to run counter to the by-the-numbers image that makes Schwartz uncomfortable.

"This guy is a football coach who motivates players," Schatz said, "and he also happens to have a very open mind and interest in statistics. But he's not like me on the sidelines."

Still, with Tennessee on the way to the playoffs, the Titans' pounding defense — and the mind that directs it — figure to get plenty of attention. Schwartz cringes when he thinks others perceive him as a numbers geek, an odd concern for an avid amateur chess player who uses Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov analogies.

"People talk about the chess match between coaches and coordinators," Schwartz said. "Anybody who plays chess knows your rook never falls down, your rook never stops one spot short. There's human nature to football that will never make it into a game of numbers."

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Strategic Solution to a Chaotic Situation

Never depend on technology as the "one step" strategic answer.

If it fails, the contingency process should always be a combination of slightly low technology and an undisclosed set of detailed tactical steps.


Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:18 am EST

At Colorado, a blinded Zac Robinson is an angry Zac Robinson

By Matt Hinton

Colorado fans knew their struggling defense would need all the help it could get against Oklahoma State's high-flying offense Saturday night, and at least one dedicated Buff brought out the big guns -- lasers:

The jumpy laser-pointer from the crowd hit Robinson's visor and cost Oklahoma State a timeout before a 3rd-and-9 snap in the second quarter; video is here. (Hat tip: EDSBS)

That's no way to treat a native Coloradoan, but the light-wielding CU partisan(s) forgot that Zac Robinson and the rest of the Oklahoma State offense is used to having colors burned into their retinas before the snap:

The 3rd-and-9 play following the laser-induced timeout? A 29-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Dez Bryant that put the Pokes up 13-0, the final margin in their 30-17 win. And you thought the clown-signal system was just a silly distraction.,122600

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Deception is the Name of the Game

In chaotic times, chaotic people implement chaotic measures regardless of the circumstances.

entirely trust your news sources and columnists. Always triple check.

What is at stake sometimes determines the gameplay. Extreme measures are used regardless. Everyone's hands are dirty. Just remember there is always a possibility that someone is deceiving.

Always perform due diligence on the given information. Then assess the grand picture. Finally, ask yourself this question, "Who benefits from this distraction?"

If the event does not affect you (directly or at all), stay centered and wait for verification and validation or else ignore it.
If the event does affect you directly, stay centered, perform due diligence. Wait for verification and validation before preparing for the next move. Unless you have superb radar sense, go with your gut.

To play this game, the key is knowing what the outcome of a current event connects to what object.

You don't know what you don't know
You can't do what you don't know
You don't know until you measure

You don't measure what you don't value

You don't value what you don't measure
--- Six Sigma

The higher the political stakes are, the greater the chance that deception will be executed.

Copyright: 2008 © Collaboration360 Consultants (C360 Consultants).
Copying, posting and reproduction in any form (without prior consent) is an infringement of copyright

MSNBC retracts false Palin story; others duped

By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
November 12, 2008
(11-12) 20:33 PST NEW YORK, (AP) --

MSNBC was the victim of a hoax when it reported that an adviser to John McCain had identified himself as the source of an embarrassing story about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the network said Wednesday. David Shuster, an anchor for the cable news network, said on air Monday that Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, had come forth and identified himself as the source of a Fox News Channel story saying Palin had mistakenly believed Africa was a country instead of a continent. Eisenstadt identifies himself on a blog as a senior fellow at the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy. Yet neither he nor the institute exist; each is part of a hoax dreamed up by a filmmaker named Eitan Gorlin and his partner, Dan Mirvish, the New York Times reported Wednesday. The Eisenstadt claim had mistakenly been delivered to Shuster by a producer and was used in a political discussion Monday afternoon, MSNBC said. "The story was not properly vetted and should not have made air," said Jeremy Gaines, network spokesman. "We recognized the error almost immediately and ran a correction on air within minutes."

Gaines told the Times that someone in the network's newsroom had presumed the information solid because it was passed along in an e-mail from a colleague. The hoax was limited to the identity of the source in the story about Palin — not the Fox News story itself. While Palin has denied that she mistook Africa for a country, the veracity of that report was not put in question by the revelation that Eisenstadt is a phony. Eisenstadt's "work" had been quoted and debunked before. The Huffington Post said it had cited Eisenstadt in July on a story regarding the Hilton family and McCain. Among the other victims were political blogs for the Los Angeles Times and The New Republic, each of which referenced false material from Eisenstadt's blog.

And in July, Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones magazine blogged an item about Eisenstadt speaking on Iraqi television about a casino in Baghdad's "Green Zone."
Stein later realized he'd been had. "Kudos to the inventor of this whole thing," Stein wrote. "My only consolation is that if I had as much time on my hands as he clearly does, I probably would have figured this out and saved myself a fair amount of embarrassment."

There are lies, dammed lies and then there is the news media.

The gutter politics of the McCain campaign is reaching down once again to denounce Obama for his distant past links to Bill Ayers in an unprecedented guilt-by-association attack for a presidential campaign.

Sarah Palin declared, "This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country."

The New York Times article, which prompted Palin's remarks, actually concluded that "the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers."

CNN Political Ticker evaluated Palin's "palling" charges and concluded, "False. There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are now palling around, or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years. Also, there is nothing to suggest that Ayers is now involved in terrorist activity or that other Obama associates are....CNN's review of project records found nothing to suggest anything inappropriate in the volunteer projects in which the two men were involved."

Back in February, the Washington Post reported in a fact check, But the Obama-Ayers link is a tenuous one.(Washington Post, 2/18/08)

As part of a larger project where I'm compiling a long list of all the lies and smears spread about Obama, here are over two dozen lies about Ayers and Obama.

--- Source:

Other interesting lies:


Tao of Deception (in Chinese)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another Benefit from Strategic Assessment

We are also adding a template on how to use our process as a "pre-stage" step before brainstorming an idea.

It will be in our book.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

C360's Latest Presentation on Strategic Assessment

Many thanks to Dr. Fellman of Southern New Hampshire University for another opportunity to share our knowledge of Chinese Strategies with his class. We did a presentation on "Applying Sun Tzu's (Sunzi's) Principles to the Global Economy" for his International Business Strategy class.


We also talked about the strategic assessment process.

For those who are interested in my presentation, an abridged version of the presentation package and some parts of my speech will be on-line in the next few weeks.

Please e-mail us if you are interested in viewing it. The presentation's slide show will be played on a separate site.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Benefit from Strategic Assessment

Before building your plan, it is important to assess the grand picture. The Strategic Assessment module of the Compass AE process gives you this capability to see the direct and the indirect connections from the starting point to the finishing point. This feature enables one to think outside the box.

The more specifics you know about your grand picture, the better the operational plan becomes. ...
The better your operational plan is, the "quality of your decision-making" rises.

The question is ... do you know how to assess the grand picture?

When using our "Strategic Assessment" module, the implementers will not be deceived by hype and/or misconstrued events for opportunities. They will not develop a plan that underestimates the cost of the implemented strategy and miscalculates the risks and consequences of their project.

Does your project process do that?

If you are interested in our Compass AE process, e-mail us at service(aatt)collaboration360(dott)com.

Copyright: 2008 © Collaboration360 Consultants (C360 Consultants).
Copying, posting and reproduction in any form (without prior consent) is an infringement of copyright

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Strategic Assessment: The Book

As we progress toward the completion of our "Strategic Assessment" book, we are deciding whether to add a chapter on how to combine our Strategic Assessment process with Game Theory .