To fight in a defensive manner is not a sign of weakness; it is the height of strategic wisdom, a powerful style of waging conflicts. Its requirements are simple: first, you must make the most of your resources, fighting with perfect economy and engaging only in battles that are necessary; second, you must know how and when to retreat, luring an aggressive adversary into an imprudent attack. Then, waiting patiently for his moment of exhaustion, launch a vicious counterattack.
In a world that frowns on displays of overt aggression, the ability to fight defensively, to let others make the first move and then wait for their own mistakes to destroy them, will bring you untold power. Because you waste neither energy nor time, you are always ready for the next inevitable battle. Your career will be long and fruitful.
To fight this way, you must master the arts of deception. By seeming weaker than you are, you can draw the adversary into an ill-advised attack; by seeming stronger than you are, perhaps through an occasional act that is reckless and bold, you can deter the adversary from attacking you. In defensive warfare you are essentially leveraging your weaknesses and limitations into power and victory.
J. Michael Dennis
Corporate Systemic Strategist