May 13, 2007

Armchair Strategists

Posted by Bizaholic | 12:03 PM | with 1 comments »

There is a unique species in corporate world. Its name is “Armchair Strategists”. These are frequently found at higher levels of corporate hierarchy. Their specialty is that they tend to think that they know everything that’s happening around even without venturing out of their cozy and spacious offices! So confident they are of their ability to read things without venturing out that they keep imposing upon others decisions that reinforce their grand views about everything. It’s another matter that what they think is often wrong and way apart from reality. The reason is simple – unless you roll up your sleeves and go out and poke your ears and eyes around, reality is not bound to enter your head, however experienced you may be!

There is a Chinese proverb that goes like “Hearing a hundred times is not as good as seeing once.” This is attributed to a veteran Chinese general, Zhou Chongguo, who, when asked by Emperor Xuandi about the number of troops he would require to defeat the invasion from the North, replied –

“Hearing a hundred times is not as good as seeing once. Warfare is not a matter of guesswork. I will have to go to the front to see for myself how the land lies before I can formulate my strategy.”
Perhaps, our “armchair strategists” from the corporate world need a lesson from General Zhou Chongguo on the importance of moving out of their cozy offices to visit their markets and talk to their customers more often so that they can see what is happening around and not rely solely on their experience or what their people tell them about what is happening around.


  1. Shubh // June 20, 2007 at 11:45 AM  

    Really nice article. If only our IAS officers, politicians and others saw what the public goes through in travelling, the conditions of roads, buses, public transport, electricity, water ...... then may be things would change but staying in their air conditioned government cars and offices and houses, how will they ever find out.