• Xerxes: the god-king who lacked flexibility, ordering the seas to be whipped when they defied him.

• Octavian: an unhealthy teen who leveraged time, propaganda, and his closest circle of advisors to become ancient Rome's first and longest-ruling emperor.

• Queen Elizabeth: master of delegation and strategic ambiguity, keeping her marriage options open as an additional tool in her game,

• George Washington: using the power of silence to influence people without saying a word.

The necessity to formulate a plan amidst changing and complex circumstances makes strategy a discipline that is far from science. It's way closer to art, and no wonder one of the classic books on the topic is called "The Art of War." 

What you can derive from all of the metaphors are some fundamental principles:

• Bridge Vision with Resources: Strategists must constantly reassess how to align their vision with available resources.

• Avoid Overstretching: Stretching too thin allows others to gain leverage over you.

• Internal Locus of Control: Believe deeply that you can influence reality, and act accordingly. Counting on godly providence won't help for sure!

• Combine Opposites: Switch perspectives and combine seemingly opposite elements.

Welcome to the world of strategy, where simple plans emerge from contrary data points and endless opportunities! 

It's up to you to make decisions, and no analytical tool or helper will take the responsibility from your shoulders as a final decision-maker. 

Thank you, Piotr Łysik, for this brilliant gift that made my time in Dubai more pleasurable.

What are your favorite books on strategy? Mine include “Good Strategy, Bad Strategy” and “Good to Great.”