The Annotated Art of War (Parts 11.32-34: Leading Everyone)
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Annotated Art of War > Parts 11.32-34: Leading Everyone
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XI. The Nine Situations
|Sun Tzu said:
32. The principle on which to manage an army is to set up one standard of
courage which all must reach.
||The best way to set a
standard is to model it. The next is to teach it. Then is to
encourage it. Last is to enforce it.
In practice you will likely
need all of these, but should use more of the better ways.
Without courage, an army will fail at the first hurdle. With
great courage, they can overcome overwhelming odds.
Courage should be allied with intelligence. Suicide is seldom a
good choice, though in battle it is sometimes the best option for
some so the war may be won.
|33. How to make the best of both strong and weak--that is a question
involving the proper use of ground.
||The secret of winning
is to use everyone, playing to their strengths rather than forcing
them to put forward only their weaknesses.
Hence those who are not
good fighters may be found more useful behind the lines, for example
if they can run well then they may carry messages. If they are
intelligent, they can process information. If they lack all skill
then perhaps they can just carry things for you.
It is a mark of leadership to be able to identify strengths and
weaknesses and then play to the person's strength.
In business, the 'Peter Principle' is that people get promoted to
their level of incompetence and then remain there. In war even more
than in business, this is a losing approach.
|34. Thus the skillful general conducts his army just as though he were
leading a single man, willy-nilly, by the hand.
||An army or a business
is made up of individual people. Whilst there is collective action,
each is an independent agent. Hence, in order to gain a collective
motivation, each person must receive the same message.
hence must be constant in their purpose and copious in their