On Stratagem, Sun Tzu wrote that the best strategy was to take the enemy whole and intact; to shatter and destroy him leaves you no victory. So, it is better to capture an entire army, an entire regiment, detachment or company than slaughter it.
Yeah. I've taken a County Council, a District Council, two Parish Councils, Social Services, National Health Service, local Law Enforcement and a gnarly population of townsfolk who thought I was going to hack them. Or something.
Hence, absolute victory in all battles is not excellence, supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy without fighting.
Several world records, a slew of awards and distinctions, outstanding performance and a sense of humour trumps bullshit every time. The enemy is careless and bloated...
Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans
Every time XD
Next is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces
Divide and Conquer. Bait and Switch. They never knew what hit them until it was too late.
After this is to attack the enemy in the field
And the worst policy is to beseige a walled city
Not much I can do about an Ivory Tower I have to say.
Therefore a skillful leader knows to subdue enemy troops without fighting, captures cities without siege, overthrows kingdoms without lengthy and expensive operations in the field;
There are 5 essentials for victory
He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight
He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.
He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.
Well, one thing I did discover today, after calling the department attempting to defraud me, is this. The regulations were changed two years ago so that everybody contributes to Council Tax irrespectively which reduces the burden on those who pay.
This is fair enough I suppose, and it is regulation, so they are within their rights to chase me.
So, I've set up instalments to repay this small debt even though that same department owes me a *lot* more. Compromise is victory when one is losing... ;-)
It was an interesting discussion all the same, and the guy I spoke to inadvertently confirmed the regulations re rent and didnt lie to me about them. This is a win; internally they now recognise that the game is up.
Hence the saying:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
They have never known me very well it has to be said. :-D
Sun Tzu also said
Never engage an enemy more powerful than yourself. If you must engage an enemy more powerful, engage him on your own terms.
Wise words indeed, still true over two thousand years later, dealing with an administration.