During World War I, the British Navy killed an estimated 750,000 civilians—normal people—by starving them to death with a blockade. That is just one estimate, but even 10% of that number is unimaginably heinous.
The lesson of the day: Choose your allies carefully.
In the early 1900s, Germany felt alone in the world. They wanted friends. They needed alliances to help them feel safe in the new order. The country sought an alliance with Great Britain, but was rebuffed. Everyone else seemed wary of Germany’s participation in the industrial revolution, and they also rebuffed Germany.
So Germany teamed up with Austro-Hungary.
Then the Austro-Hungarian empire pulled Germany into the Great War, a protracted war of attrition. The country was devastated in a way that led to the rise of Hitler and National Socialism.
Often, the Balance of Power concept pops up in the multinational business arena also. In the corporate world, confederations proliferate. Caterpillar and Mitsubishi teamed up in the 1960s. Other firms share customers or research or distribution channels to combine competencies. Apple and Microsoft might plot to counter Google’s power.
This is especially true if your company is small, or if you are managing only one team. Your organization can’t do everything alone, so you should make alliances. Just be careful whom you choose. Be both proactive and careful and purposeful. Don’t just let it happen.
An individual can end up in a long-term relationship with someone because that person was sitting on a bar stool near their own stool. Organizations make the same mistake.
Don’t join forces with a firm whose platform might soon become obsolete. Avoid those focused on stealing your knowhow in exchange for simple introductions to government regulators. Say no to those with outdated views of the market or of the world.
Be purposeful in choosing friends, spouses, and corporate partners.
::: Be fierce. Be kind. Be knowledge-hungry. :::