Business is not a War – and can never be…

I come across many articles and thoughts that directly relate business situations to a war and how business leaders are like leaders of an army, and how their subordinates fall into various ranks till the last foot soldier.

For heaven’s sake, I would vehemently oppose any such comparisons with all that I have. Please do not dis-respect people who protect our sovereignty without even knowing who we are, and are prepared to lay down their lives for intangibles. In fact, one post I came across said in a war there are bullets and in business there are deadlines. Sure, but you can’t die of deadlines, and bullets are meant to kill you. Moreover, there is always a scope for win-win solutions in business if the leader is mature enough for that, but in a war, it’s almost always a no-win situation. I hope you would agree that the gains of a war are not worth the price paid for it. I’m no M.K.Gandhi to preach non-violence here, but looking at the current economic situation and looking back on the great depression, that’s a thought hard to ignore.

By the way, I don’t know what it is to be a soldier – I have never been one and neither have any of my closest family members or friends – but I’m confident what they do is much beyond what any business leader can ever think of doing. Even the likes of Steve Jobs – RIP!!!

But in my mind, business leaders & managers can do one thing all leaders of the armed forces do – lead from the front – a phrase I’m sure was picked up from the armed forces. This, in my mind, is one of the few phrases that be used to draw parallels between a war and business – in a much diluted form though. Leading from the front in a business situation can probably mean this:

Taking accountability for failures, spreading credit during successful times, and dirtying hands when there is a need.

Beyond that, I feel any further comparison to a war is simply under-estimating what soldiers do for our respective nations. OK, maybe a few more “war” phrases can be applied to businesses too – and I’m looking forward to knowing them.

So, do you honestly believe war and business can be spoken about in parallel breaths?


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