On Strategy

Alexandre Serain Shvaloff

INDEX of Articles in French


We will publish one article per week in French on strategy. We kindly invite you to follow this link please : http://bit.ly/2T38REp

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#stratégie #strategy #analyse #coaching #cadres #économique #economical #politique #political #militaire #défense #defence #management #leadership #projet


The purpose of these short chapters is to answer to the questions that politicians and senior managers have been asking me for years in brainstorming and coaching sessions dealing with strategic analysis, creation, management and finalisation of political and complex projects.

Recently, I was the one who asked them whether there was any point in writing about it.

The responses were unanimous. I started writing than about strategy and false strategies in short chapters.


Who am I ?

After studying fine arts and music, I continued as well studying different subjects and became researcher in neurosciences. I am co-author & author of medical textbooks (Ed. Masson, Paris), translated in English and Spanish. Former CEO of companies in electronics and cultural production in another life I also followed academic courses at EMLYON, CNAM in Paris, Yale University, Stanford University on strategy, game theory, leadership and management.

For more than 10 years, I have been dealing with executives and politicians who desire an advancement in their career or changing their activity:


Sometimes, their aim is motivated also by a desire to express their expertise in another field or they are simply seek for another life from art to agriculture.

On Strategy-I Introduction

Etymologically, the word "Strategy" is composed of "stratos" which means army and "agein" which means pushing, leading. So, strategy is, above all, a military process. Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian general who fought Napoleon, is one of the modern military thinkers. His book, "On War", is still today considered by military experts as one of the most important books to understand military history. His ideas are still widely taught in military schools and are useful for the historical understanding of western strategy.

Since getting scientific precision and knowledge of the parameters that make it up, the strategy is closer to art than to hard science. The dialectical method used by strategists does not often correspond to philosophical exchanges by means of arguments of reason. In essence, the wills that generate strategy are political. Clausewitz said that - war is the continuation of politics by other means where each one wants to impose on the other a type of power that the other does not want. In our country, thinkers of strategy such as Hervé Coutau-Bégarie and Georges Henri Soutou have redefined modern strategy by "the art of the dialectic of wills and intelligences by using, among other process, force or threats of force for political purposes". This definition includes the weight of political decision-making in operational action.

The qualities of a strategist are presented in the definitions and historical examples of strategy: intelligence, creativity, knowledge, modesty and above all, respect for the opponent.

The historical approach and definitions of strategy and strategist often bear the colours of the national culture. At home, it was believed that to develop strategic thinking, it was enough to experience war or to be born with an innate gift. Of course, to be a good strategist, to be endowed with intelligence, to have lived the war with the masters of the game does not harm. However, to take war as a hard science is a mistake of scientism...

Original text in French: http://bit.ly/2spK0Qf

On Strategy-II At Stake

According to the definition of the "Académie Française Dictionary", a stake can be defined as what can be won or lost in any action. Etymologically, it means what is bet. More broadly speaking, we can understand that a stake corresponds to what will be won or lost in terms of material, money or other conquests following an action.

There are significant differences between the stake and the objective. The objective is more of an established purpose. It is a defined target that will be achieved through a series of concrete and easily quantifiable actions.

The strategist is one who stands at the intersection of the political, military and economic. He or she thinks in terms of the war as a whole, in terms of subsequent episodes, in terms of the hypotheses of a future history whose consequences will go beyond the professional competence of a single person.

The proportionality of the engagement of forces is a parameter of great importance. Once started, a resolution engaged on a "ratio of forces" can get out of control. In conflict situations, it is the escalation of violence that is a factor in the loss of control over the course of events. Clausewitz called this "ascent to extremes". As we all know, the runaway of the forces involved resulted in the deaths of millions of soldiers during the First World War. In politics as well as in economics, states of mind, hatred, blindness by the desire to annihilate the other could end in massive losses of people, property and interests.

The value of the stake cannot be defined in absolute terms. One can of course estimate the material value of the stake as money spent, ammunition used, losses of all kinds on which will be added symbolic values. For example, we live in societies that accept less and less loss of human life, even among opponents. Moreover, non-rational criteria, the fruit of highly symbolic beliefs, make the prior determination of the value of the issue quantifiable.

Original text in French: http://bit.ly/30nhAmn