The King's Wings
Warfare > The Six Secret Teachings
> 3. 1 The King's Wings
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Martial Secret Teachings 3.1 (18)
- Understand all techniques. Having a few preferred methods is limiting
and can be fatal.
- Get the right people in the right jobs.
- Develop your people. Challenge them. Push their boundaries.
- Put a lot of effort into changing minds.
Understanding all techniques is a common admonition of military texts. The
more options you have, the greater the chance you have of using just the right
method for the current situation. It also gives you flexibility to change with
the varying tides of the fight.
The 'King's Wings' are his top assistants and aides. It is in the quality of
these people and their ability to do their work extremely well that success
There is a dilemma in managing people where you both want to use their
strengths, giving them jobs they can do, while also testing and stretching them
so they can take on a wider variety of work. In critical times, however, such as
war, development takes the back seat and you need to first use the strengths of
your people. This is particularly true of senior people.
Recommendations for managers include:
- One chief planning officer: To coordinate both secret plans and
responses to sudden change.
- Five planning officers: This gives breadth of perspective without
creating planning for plans' sake.
- Three astrologers: While astrology is not very scientific, the principle
of looking ahead (including weather) is still very sound.
- Three topographers: Knowing the lie of the land is critical, even today
when air superiority is so important.
- Nine strategists: To add divergent views and focus on weaponry.
- Four supply officers: To create a constant stream of food and drink.
- Four 'officers for flourishing awesomeness': Talent managers who select
and train the best soldiers.
- Three secret signal officers: For long-distance communications.
- Four legs and arms: For heavy and difficult tasks.
- Two liaison officers: To connect with important other people.
- Seven ears and eyes: To discover reality everywhere, including the mood
of the army.
- Five claws and teeth: To build morale and energy.
- Four feathers and wings: For spreading the fearsome reputation of the
- Eight roving officers: For spying and manipulating enemy morale.
- Two officers of techniques: To spread falsehood and create confusion.
- Three officers of prescription: To manage and dispense medicines.
- Two accountants: To manage money and details of supplies.
Noticeable in this is the wide range of roles where the main skill is
Sawyer, R.D. (1993). The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China,