Business Expansion

Napoleon’s Big Mistake – and how you can avoid repeating it

Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France and military genius, was one of the most brilliant leaders that the world has ever seen. And yet he failed in his goal, and was overthrown. Why?

There’s a story about the battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon’s army was finally defeated. The general found a guide, a local farmer, who knew the lay of the land where the battle was to be fought. He trusted this guide when making plans for battle.

What he didn’t know was that the farmer was secretly a royalist, an enemy of the revolution. And so when Napoleon proposed to charge his heavy cavalry down a slope and into the English lines, the farmer said it was a good idea.

What Napoleon couldn’t see was that a narrow road lay at the bottom of the slope, hidden in a ravine. The farmer knew about it, but he didn’t.

And so the cream of the French army charged full-speed into a ravine, where they were promptly slaughtered by the English forces. It was one of the turning points of the battle.

What’s the lesson here? It’s not just a military lesson, but a business one as well! And it is about picking the right project manager. No matter how brilliant you (or your product) is, you can be undone on unfamiliar ground if you don’t choose your guides well. You need someone who knows the territory. And who you can trust. Why not pick one of the most trusted names when it comes to managing projects abroad?


About the Author: Waseem Hussain is the Founder & CEO of a services company with a specialization on business with India. Before, he was the business manager of a globally operating outsourcing company, after heading a joint venture between a Swiss and an Indian software development company. His key strengths are quickly grasping the clients’ situation, crafting executable strategies and implementing steps towards success. View his short bio

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