Saturday, June 29, 2013

What is a Divide and Conquer Strategy?

Today I wanted to learn more about what is exactly a Divide and Conquer Strategy.
The maxims "divide et impera" and "divide ut regnes" were utilised by the Roman ruler Caesar and the French emperor Napoleon.


A divide and conquer strategy, also known as “divide and rule strategy” is often applied in the arenas of politics and sociology. In this strategy, one power breaks another power into smaller, more manageable pieces, and then takes control of those pieces one by one. It generally takes a very strong power to implement such a strategy. In order to successfully break up another power or government, the conqueror must have access to strong political, military, and economic machines.

Furthermore, in order to maintain power and influence, large governments will often work to keep smaller powers and governments from uniting. In fact, this use of the principles within the divide and conquer strategy is most common. It is much easier to prevent small powers from linking forces than to break them apart once they have aligned.

Leaders who use a divide and conquer strategy may encourage or foster feuds between smaller powers. This kind of political maneuvering requires a great understanding of the people who are being manipulated. In order to foster feuds, for example, one must understand the political and social histories of the parties intended to take part in the feuds.

The strategy also includes methods with which to control the funds and resources of the small conquered parties. For example, a powerful leader may encourage a less powerful leader to make unwise financial decisions in order to drain the smaller power’s resources. This is often successful if the leaders of the smaller powers have inflated egos and delusions of grandeur. It is important to note that this form is only effective if the smaller power allows itself to be influenced by the larger power.

The divide and conquer strategy has been widely used throughout history. Both the Roman empire and the British empire played small tribes and groups against one another in order to control their lands and territories. It was used by the Romans when they took Britain, when the British Empire took India, and when the Anglo-Normans took Ireland. A staple political strategy, divide and conquer is still used by many countries today.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Pareto Principle (The 80/20 Rule) - Rethink Your "To Do" List

Originally, the Pareto Principle referred to the observation that 80% of Italy’s wealth belonged to only 20% of the population.

More generally, the Pareto Principle is the observation (not law) that most things in life are not distributed evenly. It can mean all of the following things:


  • 20% of the input creates 80% of the result
  • 20% of the workers produce 80% of the result
  • 20% of the customers create 80% of the revenue
  • 20% of the bugs cause 80% of the crashes
  • 20% of the features cause 80% of the usage
  • And on and on…
From here this article is an excerpt of a blog article from the Harvard Business Review - The Unimportance of Practically Everything.

It perfectly explains how to prioritize your "TO DO" list according to the Pareto principle in order to maximize your results.

When you make a "to do" list, prioritize each item by the amount of effort required (1 to 10, with 1 being the least amount of effort) and the potential positive results (1 to 10, with 10 being the highest impact.)

 Now divide the potential results by the amount of effort to get a "priority" ranking. Do the items with the lowest resulting priority number first. Here's a simple example:

        Task 1: Write report on trip meeting.
        Effort=10, Result=2, Priority=5
        Task 2: Prepare presentation for marketing.
        Effort=4, Result=4, Priority=1
        Task 3: Call current customer about referral.
        Effort=1, Result=10, Priority=0.1

See your new priority-based order? You do Task 3 first, Task 2 second, and Task 1 last–if at all.

This way, you ensure you do those important low-effort tasks that make up 80% of your success.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What is an ERP (Enterprise Ressource Planning)?

Enterprise Resource Planning provides applications that help manage the business functions:

- logistics
- sales and distribution
- marketing
- finance
- and human resources.

All this in an organization that may be spread across different continents.