The three main stages of analytical logic are :

(1) Learn from the past.

Before we know where we want to arrive at, we have to know from whence we came. Sounds simple - but is it ?

Most history is written by the victors, and thus biased in favour of those who "won" wars, elections, etc. However, we can examine, evaluate and explore both the mistakes and successes of the parties involved. Indeed, it is probable that much more can be gleaned from the errors of others, and well as the triumphs of the victors. For example, the Duke of Wellington's ultimate conquest over Napoleon's armies during the "Peninsular War" (1808-1814), was in many ways due to the British General analysing the failings of the Allied forces, and then copying many of the French Emperor's superior tactics (perhaps the best form of flattery !), and using the resulting deductions to devastating effect. 

(2) Diagnose within the present.

Critically probe the rationale of the current system that you wish to scrutinise, but remember, that change for changes sake, is not by any means change for the better - if it ain't broke, don't fix it !

This second point is far harder than the first. Many authoritarian regimes have stuck with inefficient "five year plans", simply because any form of dissention or reasoned dichotomy was ruthlessly stamped out by the ruling elite. Conversely, it has not been uncommon in "Western" Democracies for Opposition parties, when gaining political power in fully open elections, to instigate a policy of political dogma that diametrically contradicts that of the previous incumbent, for no good logical reason other than political. Unfortunately, at times this can have potentially disastrous effects upon the economy.

(3) Plan for the future.

In order to map out a coherent strategy, it is vital not just to follow the previous two steps, but also to sketch out the target area of your aims. After all, you do not get into a car, bus, train, plane etc. with no real idea of where your destination is or desired !

From a simple flow chart to a more involved critical path analysis, (depending of course upon the degree and level of sophistication to which you aspire), simplicity is often the key to success. There is an old saying that goes " a chain is only as strong as its' weakest link". If everyone involved in your plan understands it's "modus operandi" to at least to within one further link than their own, you will be afforded a far greater fluidity of thought and movement. By allowing a pre-determined degree of flexibility to the participants, you encourage initiative. By suppressing changeability, you encourage rigidity.

Case History:

During the Battle of France (May - June 1940), a much smaller German army was able to totally out manoeuvre a far larger, and in many areas a better equipped, combined British-French allied force. Most people refer to the German victory as "Blitzkrieg" war. Call it what you like, but in reality the German High Command had done their homework. They had learnt from the past, diagnosed the present and then planned coherently for their future operations. One of the key reasons for their success, was the stiffness of the Allied chain of command. On the German side, if a junior officer was put out of action, his duties could be performed temporarily by a senior NCO, or even a junior one in exceptional circumstances. Thus, what was an Allied weakest link, on the other hand, was one of the Germans' greatest strengths.

What the "laterally thinking" Germans recognised, was that in order to defeat your enemy, you must determine their weaknesses.

First, you should seek to understand the dynamics of their operational capabilities, (especially such major aspects as culture, economy and military), for only then can you accurately recognise their strengths.  

Then, by an analytical reduction from the performance study of these factors, you can carefully eliminate all those advantages, and thereby attempt to isolate any apparent limitations.

Last, your own resolve to win at any cost must be maintained at all times and greatly surpass the level of your enemy’s will to resist. Successful completion of these actions will set the magnitude of victory.

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Lateral Thinking

Analytical Logic