Action is only taken to achieve something. In strategy it is to defeat an opponent.
To deceive our opponent and confuse them regarding your intentions and possible actions you may or must take, you must not allow them to think beyond the problem. They must be placed in a position so that they concentrate on finding a solution to the symptoms of the problem and not a solution to the problem.
Take extreme care not to let your challenger know your true intention. Use a decoy to trick the enemy/competitor/rival, putting them in a confused state, and then you can lead them into a trap.
Your initiative and any pressure you can use to create a situation where your opponent is forced to react repeatedly to your decisions will ensure they will not be able to effect future strategic moves by you. Using a boxer as an example if his opponent repeatedly hit him he would be unable to respond and would eventually collapse to the ring floor.
Deception and conflict management are both needed to create the proper conditions. Do not change your opinions or the stance you take such that the friends and allies you have will suspect your actions and intentions and the opponents or competitors will be aroused to action.
If you do intentionally show change use it to lure the competitor to defend a certain position or point of view. Make them make a stand by either committing more resources to compete with your brand or holding a political position. Each time they have to defend their position in front of the public or in the boardroom it will be a small hit they take but enough times will ruin any reputation.
When someone thinks they are well-prepared, doing routine work or in a superior position financially or physically, they will let down their guard and be less alert to their surroundings. They have a false sense of control. Things they see often, they will not be suspicious about. So keep your secrets in the open so they do not attract unwanted attention by looking out of place or threatening to others. In this way, the obvious or always around can be used to hide your secrets.