Chapter 2. The reasons for victory and defeat – and the lessons for business


“We learn how to win when defeated.”

 --Simon Bolivar


Why were the results at Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift precisely the opposite of what one would expect?

At Rorke’s Drift the British made the correct tactical decisions while the Zulus made mistakes. At Isandlwana, the roles were reversed: the Zulus were in the right and the British made the mistakes. Those decisions and mistakes can be summarized as four variables:

  • Knowledge of the enemy (characteristics and plans).

  • Focus.

  • Choice of terrain.

  • Surprise.

Knowledge of the enemy’s characteristics and plans

From the start of the war, the British army misunderstood the objectives of the Zulus. Remembering his experience ...

Get Strategy Moves: 14 complete attack and defense strategies for competitive advantage now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.