STRATEGY: Exchange the role of guest for host



Look beyond the immediate battle and build on a position of weakness to take control.


I was watching my favorite childhood cartoon movie, GI Joe, yesterday and was reminded of a very powerful strategy that the terrorist organization Cobra uses in most of the cartoons that can be applied in business. If you’re not familiar with GI Joe, Cobra Commander is the leader of the terrorist group know as Cobra and Destro is his 2nd in command (both are in the picture above) but in the movie Destro is the commander while Cobra Commander is the brains behind the weapons they’ll use to takeover the world.

The MARS (aka Cobra) organization is the world’s largest supplier of weapons and Destro is it’s CEO. Cobra Commander takes an inferior position by being able to use Destro’s resources to build a technologically advanced terrorist organization that is of his own making.

This is important to know because Cobra Commander is really just waiting in the wings for Destro’s downfall to take over. Up to this point every weapon Destro’s MARS organization has was designed by Cobra Commander himself and as any good strategist has been influencing every decision the organization has taken before he takes power.

When he finally takes power nothing really changes since he’s planned all of this from the beginning to be this way.


This strategy is called .


This is a very powerful strategy because you start by seeming weaker than the person or business you are trying to take, but in doing so you build on a position of weakness to take control. It’s a deceptive strategy but when well executed opens up a lot of options for you because in reality you are the one in control when giving it up.


Microsoft was born from taking a subordinate position to IBM.


Why this is important to you.

Because you want something and there’s always going to be obstacles standing in your way and most of the time you lack the patience to see the bigger picture. Your natural instincts will tell you to focus on the present and the faster you can get what you want the better, instead look at the big picture and see how taking an inferior position right now can benefit you in the long run by using others resources to your benefit.


There are endless applications of this devastating strategy, have you used this strategy before?

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