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Adapt to Changes in Irresistible Forces: Guerrillas, Games, and Drills

Apr 2, 2008
During the Revolutionary War in which the new-world British colonies broke free to become the United States, the colonists in areas outside the main battle zones usually did not rely on a standing army of the sort that exists today.

Forces assembled in many cases just as needed, a just-in-time army, as it were.

On receiving a summons (such as seeing a light in a tower, or hearing Paul Revere or someone else cry "The British are coming!" or a bell ringing), the Minutemen grabbed their muskets, ammunition, and powder and were on their way within a minute or two to a predetermined assembly point.

(Volunteer fire departments in small communities often work this way now, responding to pagers.)

Through losses in the early days of the war (for example, at Lexington where the Minutemen stood their ground against a vastly larger British force and were routed), these scattered colonial forces learned to observe the British, pick their tactics to fit the circumstances, and adapt as the situation changed.

Minutemen avoided fighting a battle out in the open. They did not want to use European-style ranks of riflemen.

Major battles occurred under George Washington's immediate command with a standing army and losses usually followed. What worked best for the scattered Minutemen was to use what we now call guerrilla tactics, and fire at the larger British troops from behind stone walls and trees.

On the march back from Concord where the Minutemen successfully held their ground, the British Army sustained significant losses because of this tactic while the colonists had relatively few.

The British had one way of conducting a battle, regardless of the circumstances and were at a great disadvantage against an adaptable foe.

In working with your company or organization, you need to keep this same flexibility of response.

In fact, a caution in using automatic responses through computers (such as those we described for the computer reservation systems) is that they can become too predictable. Then a competitor can outmaneuver the computer's response as well.

For instance, the computer reservation systems seek to generate more revenue per flight mile. Yet, leisure passengers are almost always more sensitive to price than anything else, creating an irresistible force that creates incentives to drop prices.

Airlines like Southwest that have focused on having the lowest possible costs can outmaneuver such a reservation system by almost always pricing their fares below the major airlines. Southwest is still able to earn a higher profit (in part by avoiding the higher expense of such a more complicated reservation system).

In the process, they also avoid annoying customers who resent being gouged for huge prices to take a last-minute trip.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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