100 Years since World War I: Business Strategy Lessons

100 Years since World War I Business Strategy Lessons

This year, July 28 marks the 100th year since World War I broke out on the same day in 1914. Although the war basically imploded within Europe, it reached global proportions when the United States and Japan joined the Allies (UK, France and Russia), while several other nations supported the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary).

With over 70 million military personnel drawn in, of which around 9 million were killed, WW1 became one of the most significantly extensive wars in history.

Warfare, especially of this scale, is practically a game of strategy. Are there lessons for business marketers to take from WW1?

Flaws can sometimes be hidden in plain sight

Even before the war, there was already growing tension between the countries. Either they ignored the signs or were totally unaware, the fact remains that the feud could have been easily prevented – or at the very least, pacified – had they been more observant.

Marketers often encounter irregularities on a regular basis but choose to ignore them. It’s the little things that usually account for major disasters, and as the people tasked to maintain the stability of a business, no small detail should be taken for granted.

The influence of leaders should not be taken lightly

Oftentimes, a leader’s idealism, prejudice or even stubbornness may take control of the real motives of warfare, and this influences majority of the actions involved. WW1 was not an exception to this, especially considering the number of nations involved.

Remember, even in business, the role of a leader is very crucial. His or her mindset will dictate decisions that need to be made, spawning actions that could make or break the company. It’s always wise to choose a leader that knows how to objectively take charge and is able to set aside his or her personal agenda.

Mistakes beget mistakes

A lot of people profess that  WW1 wasn’t really resolved; that the real problem was swept under the rug for the sake of taking a break from a burdensome war. The agreements made in the supposed ‘closure’ only bred vengeance and repulsion amongst the involved parties, and WW2 was practically a sequel that was waiting to happen.

Marketers cannot afford to ignore the possibility of a setback to recur. Hence, actions should aim toward a permanent fix rather than a band-aid solution. A business venture is mostly a one-in-a-million shot for success wherein second chances are hard to come by.