Friday, June 04, 2010

Tactical Matters

I've got a dilemma. I can't really get too much into detail, but in a nutshell, I'm trying to make a decision on how to proceed from one stage to the next in regard to certain issues. The problem is that the current stage has to be brought to a definitive end point, one way or another. By that I mean I need to figure out how to decisively close out this stage, or find a way to continue the current stage and use that continuation as a means of moving on to the next stage.

Confused yet? Well I am too, but basically there are two ways to approach this thing, and as usual, I'm going back in history to illustrate them.

First is what I'll call the Bayint Naung approach, named after a Burmese king who I had no clue about until a few days ago. I haven't had a lot of time to research the history, but the story goes like this. King Bayint Naung viewed an enemy encampment across the river from his own camp. The enemy outnumbered his own forces 4:1, so he had a decision to make. Take them on in what most likely would be a hopeless cause, or retreat and live to fight another day. Being a 16th century, southeast Asian bad ass, Bayint Naung decided to fight. He took his men across the river and once on the other side, ordered them to burn their boats. Then he gave a rousing action adventure movie type speech (think Braveheart, Independence Day), and proceeded to rout the superior forces of his enemies. The end result was the solidification of the Burmese kingdom and Bayint Naung's greatest victory.

Pretty cool huh?

The second approach is named after the Continental Army. Facing overwhelming odds in the early days of the American Revolution, the leadership of the Continental Army under Gen. George Washington decided to not fight in the officially sanctioned, gentlemanly manner of European armies of the day. You know, nice neat lines of men who marched smartly onto the battlefield and took turns shooting at each other until they were close enough to charge. Instead, they adapted the tactics of the Native Americans; hit and run attacks, tactical retreats, do the unexpected, shoot officers, etc. This approach kept the army intact and essentially achieved victory by not being defeated. The end result was, well, you know the end result. I'm writing from the United States of America after all, so the approach worked.

So there you have it, two distinctly different approaches to basically the same tactical issue of how to deal with overwhelming odds and live to tell about it. What does all of this have to do with me? Well, nothing really. I mean, I'm not facing overwhelming odds in anything. My challenges are not life and death either. I do find historical analogies helpful usually and these two seemed fitting at this time.

Now without my actually having told you anything, what do you think? Are there any analogies or quotations or anything of the sort that you fall back on during times like these? Let me know, I'm interested to hear from you.