When Ulysses S. Grant took over the Army of the Potomac during the US civil war, it was in some disarray. The disarray was not for lack of men or material. They outnumbered and outgunned their adversaries. It was from a sense of bewilderment. Over several years, the southern armies had built up an aura of invincibility. This was Grant’s main problem.
In a first staff meeting, Grant listened as clever generals stood up and presented what they thought General Lee, as leader of the southern forces, would do next. At one point Grant stopped them. Paraphrasing, he said, gentlemen, we are wasting our time here. I am not so interested in what Lee is going to do to us. I am much more interested in what we are going to do to him.
A basic lesson in conflict management.