Guest Post: Sun Tzu – Father of VictometricsPosted: February 3, 2012
Victometrics are measurable quantities that define victory or defeat in a competitive situation.
Sun Tzu captured some of the earliest recorded victometrics. He wrote:
The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field. These are:
- The Moral Law … causes the people to be in complete accord
- Heaven … night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons
- Earth … distances; danger and security; chance
- The Commander … wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage
- Method and discipline … the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure
These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.
Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise:
- Which of the two sovereigns is in harmony with his subjects.
- Which of the two generals has most ability?
- With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?
- On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
- Which army is stronger?
- On which side are officers and men more highly trained?
- In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?
By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat.
Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.
The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all!
It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.
It’s nice to know I’m not alone in seeking to measure that which leads to victory.