Great leaders must be swift. Whatever it is that you need to do and whatever it is that you have to get done, has to be done quickly and with great confidence.
You must calculate and while you calculate you must not appear as if you are calculating. You must become a master of misdirection, and never let your competition see your intention, BUT there will come a time when calculation and misdirection will be over, this will be the time to act.
Action must always be swift and aggressive even when it might appear that it is the easiest thing in the world; action must always be focused, decisive and fast.
George W. Bush has begun to acquire the very unpleasant moniker of the worst American president of all time. Why do you think this is? Certainly many people could name many faults that have landed this president in hot water but the thing that began his downfall and the most persistent mistake that is alluded to is his lack of effective action in Iraq.
Bush and his policies failed in Iraq because his actions there were not well calculated and worst of all, he turned this offensive into a dragged out occupation that has cost the American people and the government dearly.
A leader cannot afford to take any action that will be prolonged in any way. If you prolong your actions in any way, you are taking a huge risk that your forces will be depleted and your strength will be gone before you can best whatever obstacle you are facing. If this is the case and you find yourself facing an obstacle that you can no longer best because of your lack of forethought and swift action, other leaders will be appointed in your place to do what you could not do. Moreover those that are beneath you will be subject to harsh criticism and will most likely also be seen as lacking in skill and ability.
These kinds of problems must be avoided at all cost and the way to avoid them is to calculate before hand and only act when your efforts are sure to be short, sweet and highly effective. You must see the weakness in the obstacles or the challenges that you face before you take action.
You must rally the people at your command and make sure that they know what they are doing to the letter. You must gather your forces and weigh the consequences of your actions and when you are certain that you have an Achilles heel; act, and act swiftly, with the full momentum of all your people and forces at your disposal.
You could be the smartest person imaginable, you could be incredibly clever and imaginative; this unfortunately will not make one bit of difference. Once you find yourself in a prolonged campaign that has no end in sight, you are done.
Even clumsy and brash actions can be successful sometimes, most usually if they succeed quickly, but you will never find any success in an action that is long and dragged out. Please do not make the mistake in thinking that this is effective only when it comes to physical conflict. All action follows this rule; whether it is a marketing campaign, a mountain climb or crossing the street.
You can have a large vision; any challenge poses many obstacles. The idea though is that before you undertake any challenge; you try and foresee as many obstacles as you can and you make your move only when you know you can deal with these obstacles in a winning manner.
Winning means acting quickly. Winning strategy is swift action!
Resource—The Art of War by Sun Tzu