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Read the articles Five Questions That Make Strategy Real and Eight Maxims of Strategy [PDF]. From the two articles, specify the main differences between strategy and tactics. Provide support for your response.

  • Compare and contrast the main characterization of strategy that both Welch and Sir Liddell-Hart present in their respective articles.
  • From Sir Liddell-Hart’s article, select one of the eight maxims of strategy and provide a real business world example that reflects the maxim you selected. Provide rationale to support your reasoning.
  • Be sure to respond to at least one of your classmates’ 

2016

Eight Maxims of

Strategy
From Sir Basil H. Liddell-Hart

Fred Nickols

LIDDELL-HART’S EIGHT MAXIMS OF STRATEGY

© Fred Nickols 2016 Page 1

These eight maxims of strategy are drawn from Chapter XX (pp. 348-

349) of Sir Basil H. Liddell-Hart’s book, Strategy (2nd Edition Revised).

Frederick A. Praeger, Publisher: New York (1968).

1 . A D J U S T Y O U R E N D T O Y O U R M E A N S

Clear sight and cool calculation should prevail. Do not bite off more

than you can chew. Keep a clear sense of what is possible. Face facts

while preserving faith. Confidence will be of no avail if the troops

are run down.

2 . K E E P Y O U R O B J E C T A L W A Y S I N M I N D , W H I L E A D A P T I N G Y O U R
P L A N T O C I R C U M S T A N C E S

Recognize that alternatives exist but make sure they all bear on the

object. Weigh the feasibility of attaining an objective against its con-

tribution to the attainment of the end in mind.

3 . C H O O S E T H E L I N E ( O R C O U R S E ) O F L E A S T E X P E C T A T I O N

Put yourself in your opposition’s shoes and try to see what course of

action he will see as least probable and thus not try to forestall.

4 . E X P L O I T T H E L I N E O F L E A S T R E S I S T A N C E – S O L O N G A S I T
C A N L E A D Y O U T O A N Y O B J E C T I V E T H A T W O U L D C O N T R I B U T E

T O Y O U R U N D E R L Y I N G O B J E C T

Seize on opportunity – but not any opportunity. Tactically, this re-

fers to following up on success; strategically, it refers to the man-

agement and deployment of your reserves.

5 . T A K E A L I N E O F O P E R A T I O N W H I C H O F F E R S A L T E R N A T I V E O B –
J E C T I V E S

Choose a single course of action that could have several objectives;

do not let your actions reveal your objectives. This puts your oppo-

nent on the horns of a dilemma. It introduces uncertainty regarding

that which is to be guarded against.

6 . E N S U R E T H A T B O T H P L A N S A N D D I S P O S I T I O N S A R E F L E X I B L E
– A D A P T A B L E T O C I R C U M S T A N C E S

Include contingencies or next steps – for success as well as failure.

Organize and deploy your resources in ways that facilitate adapta-

tion to either.

7 . D O N O T T H R O W Y O U R W E I G H T I N T O A S T R O K E W H I L S T Y O U R
O P P O N E N T I S O N G U A R D – W H I L S T H E I S W E L L P L A C E D T O
P A R R Y O R E V A D E I T

Unless your opponent is much inferior, do not attack until he has

been disorganized and demoralized. Psychological warfare pre-

LIDDELL-HART’S EIGHT MAXIMS OF STRATEGY

© Fred Nickols 2016 Page 2

cedes physical warfare. Similarly, physical warfare can be psycho-

logical in nature.

8 . D O N O T R E N E W A N A T T A C K A L O N G T H E S A M E L I N E ( O R I N
T H E S A M E F O R M ) A F T E R I T H A S O N C E F A I L E D

If at first you don’t succeed, give up. Your reinforcements will likely

be matched by the enemy. Moreover, successfully repulsing you the

first time will morally strengthen him for the second time.

C O N T A C T F R E D N I C K O L S
Fred Nickols can be reached at this e-mail. Other articles about strate-

gy, strategic planning, strategic thinking and strategic decision-making

can be found in that section of his web site.