Sun Tzu wisdom and Leadership

The Seven Military ClassicsIn my previous posts I have deliberately omitted any connection to well-known book The Art of War by Sun Tzu. This book is one of the seven fundamental Chinese military books: from general Wei Liao Tzu, then Wu Tzu, The Methods of the Sima, Six Secret Teachings, the Three Strategies of Huang Shi Gong San Lue, and finally Questions and Replies (Wen Dui) between Tang Taizong and Li Wei Gong. These seven important military texts of ancient China are called Wu Jing Qi Shu or The Seven Military Classics. The texts were canonized under this name during the eleventh century, and past the Song Dynasty were included in most military encyclopedias.

The Art of War was created in sixth century before our era and contains the rules of warfare, which are grouped into different aspects and collected in 13 chapters. Each chapter is devoted to one aspect of warfare. Outside of China this book has long been regarded as the book of ‘the ultimate’ military wisdom and as the oldest and the most famous product of military strategy and tactics.

The Art of WarThe book was used so many times for so different purposes that it would be very hard to ‘invent’ something new from it. And this was the main reason why I haven’t considered using it. Well, not using it does not mean that I do not know it and/or respect the wisdom in it.

I have to say that when re-reading Sun Tzu again I realized that I somehow have ‘used the same knowledge’ in Leadership by Virtue blog as some further examples show:

General is your wisdom, authenticity, benevolence, courage, and discipline.” Leadership is all about being you and ‘walk the talk’. In the post Leadership by Virtue background I wrote: We can subdue people, but not conquer their minds. Managers mostly ignore this, but the exceptional leaders never do. They understand when what is to be used when leading people.

Therefore, the important thing in doing battle is victory, not protracted warfare.” In any organization a leader is faced by resistance to change. In the post Resistance to change I said: People like to change things or other people but are usually not so willing to change themselves. Not exceptional leaders, they do change accordingly to their vision in a certain situation.

If the general cannot control his temper and sends troops to swarm the walls, one third of them will be killed, and the city will still not be taken. This is the kind of calamity when laying siege to a walled city.” In the post How to (not) energize the team? I told an experience with one of my ex-boss that happened to lose his temper too frequently. The question I posed is “Is this the way to energize – motivate an employer?”
Martial arts

Disorder coming from order is a matter of organization; fear coming from courage is a matter of force, weakness coming from strength is a matter of formation.” In the post Leadership and “happy” organization I stated “the obvious today”: The key device of modern management is in lowering costs by pushing on suppliers’ side, on employees, on product development and production. It is about bringing disorder when the only name of the game is cost.

If one does not know the place of battle and the day of battle, then his left cannot aid his right, his right cannot aid his left, his front cannot aid his back, and his back cannot aid his front.” The post Pushing hands and Virtue is about the leader who is sensible ‘to listen’ and perceive the energy flow running through, in and out of a company, so he/she can properly steer this energy to follow the vision!

Any comments of Sun Tzu wisdom are much appreciated!

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