|Sun Tzu said:
14. Hence it is that which none in the whole army are more intimate relations
to be maintained than with spies. None should be more liberally rewarded. In no
other business should greater secrecy be preserved.
||Keep your spies
close. Know all that is to be known about them. Treat them well and
make them feel important. Pay them well also, for their exploits and
find every way to keep them motivated and loyal.
|15. Spies cannot be usefully employed without a certain intuitive sagacity.
||Wisdom is about
making the right decisions right. Spies are sharp and expensive
instruments, so spend them well.
|16. They cannot be properly managed without benevolence and
||Handling spies is a
tricky business. While everyone knows that they could become double
agents, they should not feel you suspect them of this. Look kindly
on them with affection for their sacrifices.
|17. Without subtle ingenuity of mind, one cannot make certain of the truth of
||When spies make
reports, they may not be accurate. They may have found weak
information. They may have been discovered and fed false
information. They may even have been turned to work against you.
Seek to find ways of verifying what your spies whisper. Look for
confirmation to other spies that the first spy does not know about.
|18. Be subtle! be subtle! and use your spies for every kind of business.
||Spies are delicate
tool. Crass use will expose them and ruin you, so be very careful.
Spies can be used very creatively. You can use them in your own
camp to seek out dissenters. You can use them with allies, to check
on their loyalty. You can place them amongst the common folk to
understand and nudge local populations.
Well-used, spies can plant and provide information that catalyze
and tip the balance. With small actions they can make big
Spying in business has the additional problem of possibly being
illegal. If you step into this gray zone, you will need to be
|19. If a secret piece of news is divulged by a spy before the time is ripe,
he must be put to death together with the man to whom the secret was told.
||Timing in war is
all-important, and especially so with spies.
Secrecy is difficult to sustain and spies, who often hold
critical information, can do great damage. Limiting damage may
involve taking those who know out of the action. Killing may not be
permitted now, but those who could ruin plans may be kept out of
harm's way until the action is complete.
|20. Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm a city, or to
assassinate an individual, it is always necessary to begin by finding out the
names of the attendants, the aides-de-camp, and door-keepers and sentries of the
general in command. Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these.
||When on a secret
mission, the 'unimportant' people who are present along the way can
become very important. They may see or overhear you and report their
findings. They may also be persuaded to help, or at least not
Such people often feel unloved and ignored. Using their
can by itself be enough to bring them to your side. Knowing them
also gives opportunity for threat that can silence those who are too
loyal to their own side to help you.
In business, you likewise get a lot of information from
receptionists, janitors and so on, who hear much and say little.