Strategy types, process and methods

In the last post – we have seen the key components of the “mantra

I try to cover my understanding from the same topic “On Strategy” related to types, process and method of strategy making in this post.

Four different types of strategies would be needed for a King (or Leader) :

अकृतआरम्भः – Starting something new internally or acquiring something new
आरब्धानुष्ठान – maintaining what has already been started or acquired
अनुष्ठितविशेष – Improving what is already in place
नियोगसंपदम् – Handing over to regular operations

A council of ministers (mantri-pariShad) should be consulted individually on all components of the ‘strategy under discussion’ followed by a collective session.  Sometimes “hypothetical scenarios” can be used to get the opinions from the ministers. (But in hypothetical scenarios the ministers’ opinions also may be hypothetical)

Everyone’s opinions should be considered, reasons for the difference of opinion should be evaluated and conclusion should be derived.

One should not spend too much time is deriving strategy. Once a conclusion is arrived, one should not go back to that aspect again.

Consulting with only one minister on all aspects may lead to sub-optimal strategy. Even two ministers could be biased on strategy. Three or four ministers are needed to arrive at an unbiased strategy. 

When the situation requires an urgent resolution, a quick tactical solution should be arrived at by consulting one or two ministers.

Strategy making should be done privately in a ‘closed group’ of ministers as described above. The strategy should be kept as a secret till its deployment starts. Leaking the strategic details is a sure recipe for failure. 

Finally cANakya concludes the chapter with a warning. One who has not studied artha SAstra thoroughly and unaware of all the considerations of a Strategy, is not eligible to be a strategist!

This brings us to the end of 15th adhyaya called “mantrAdhikAra”


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