Principle of War #5 – Intelligence

Intelligence: Use every method possible to gather and accurately interpret information that will enable you to prepare and be successful. 

  1. Objective
  2. Offensive
  3. Mass
  4. Maneuver
  5. Intelligence
  6. Concerted action
  7. Unity of command
  8. Simplicity
  9. Security
  10. Economy
  11. Surprise
  12. Exploitation

Making optimal decisions concerning the first four principles we need data and facts.

It is very common to see people try to solve problems using a “Ready – Fire – Aim” strategy. This is normally the result of some supervisory demand for a fast action…problem, solution, how did it work? We (Lean Six Sigma professionals) slow the process down and follow a Ready – aim – aim – aim – Fire strategy. Meaning, spend some time gathering data, determining root causes, and avoiding unintended consequences before implementing solutions. There are plenty of examples where a “solution” solved one problem and created three. Most of you reading this can relate…it is all too common.

This brings me to my favorite word in Lean Six Sigma jargon, “Gemba”. Gemba is a Japanese word meaning the place of actual work. Going to the Gemba is our foundational intelligence gathering strategy. 

In addition we literally have dozens of statistical and non-statistical tools to understand situations. Some of the more common ones are value stream maps, control charts, check sheets, histograms, Pareto charts, and scatter plots. 

Understand the situation before making decisions