One of the reasons I like to read Military History is for ideas on leadership and concepts that can be applied in business to win marketshare and beat competitors.

From my readings, I’ve come to understand the value of creating a formal doctrine on how your company is going to approach and compete in its marketplace.

As a starting point to understanding Doctrine, below is a summary of Military Doctrine concepts from Wikipedia:

Doctrine is not strategy. Instead, doctrine seeks to provide a common conceptual framework for a military service:

  • what the service perceives itself to be (“Who are we?”)
  • what its mission is (“What do we do?”)
  • how the mission is to be carried out (“How do we do that?”)
  • how the mission has been carried out in history (“How did we do that in the past?”)

In the same way, doctrine is neither operations nor tactics. It serves as a conceptual framework uniting all three levels of warfare.

Doctrine reflects the judgments of professional military officers, and to a lesser but important extent civilian leaders, about what is and is not militarily possible and necessary.

Factors to consider include:

  • military technology
  • national geography
  • the capabilities of adversaries
  • the capability of one’s own organization

The full Wikipedia definition and related discussions can be found at: It’s a useful, quick read.

Using the above definition and concept, you can initiate the discussions and research needed to come up with your company-specific doctrine for competing. Examples of questions you may ask to create your doctrine might include:

1. What is the profile of the buyer/user of our products?

2. What are our company and product strengths and weaknesses?

3. Where is the marketplace we want to penetrate? US? North America? Europe? Asia?

4. Who are our direct and indirect competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How are we going to compete against them and win in the short-term/long-term? How have we beaten them in the past? How have they beaten us in the past?

You get the idea. If you have ideas for questions you think are useful in creating a business doctrine, please share.

Once you have created your doctrine, you can develop your specific strategies and tactics for competing in your marketplace.