Strategy is useful to conflict, but not in the way most people think about it. Strategy commonly seems to be thought of as a mapping out of actions that will lead to a particular goal. This can be true, but in the context of conflict you are dealing with other people. People are capricious. Organizations are capricious because they are run by people. In conflict emotions can run high and rationality is often abandoned.
Planning strategy based on logic against an irrational opponent is a fool’s errand.
Which brings me to my point: you cannot count on an opponent’s rationality. However, neither can you count on their irrationality. You can only count on your own reactions, unless you can’t.
That you can be lucid in a conflict is a good thing. It can provide you an advantage. It allows you to properly assess damage and rethink tactics and goals.
Keep in mind, your opponent in conflict can have this same knowledge. They can exasperate you with constantly changing schemes and tactics. They can lead you to a stalemate. Or, they might beat you with superior knowledge and tactics.
If you use proper strategy (you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you seize available opportunities and do your best to mitigate threats, and take action rather than waiting to react) and are beaten then you are not defeated. You have just learned a new lesson to help you move closer to your goals.
Strategy in the context of conflict is about dealing with the conflict at hand without endangering your larger goals. If your whole plan is to defeat your enemy without thought of the consequences of that conflict, you will lose even though you might win the battle. Being strategic means you have an idea of how you are going to deal with the aftermath of a conflict, win or lose.
Winning at all cost is a losing proposition when you are engaged in a conflict that only detracts from your bigger goals. Losing a conflict may you set you back. However, losing a conflict might move you toward your bigger goals more quickly and with more resources available to you because you choose to lose the battle at hand (and conserve your resources) in order to focus on bigger goals.
The people who win Phyrric victories don’t realize the true costs of their victories.