What makes a leader?
Why one succeeds and another doesn't?

Sun Tzu was the head of 30,000 men yet he could beat Ch'u who had 2,00,000 men. How?

Sun Tzu Wu was native of Ch'i State. His art of war was brought to the notice of HoLu, King of Wu. Sun Tzu had made a sort of treatise of 13 chapters that held his theory of managing soldiers including women. This was a shocking thing in those times. With a pilot experiment, Sun Tzu actually demonstrated to the King; taking 180 ladies from his harem and making them learn to obey him and fight. The King not only was surprised but impressed .

Following are a few highlights from this book of wisdom that can be applicable to all kinds of leaders and gives even startup founders the insight into team management. 

  1. If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood - the general (in this case the leader/founder) is to blame.
  2. If words of command are clear and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then the fault is of the officers (in this case the team leader or department head).
  3. If the words of command are clear and yet the soldiers disobey, behead them. (This was the extreme way Sun Tzu led his Imperial Army as a General. However, our take would be to warn the people/employees or in extreme case fire them).

Sun Tzu had laid some great ideas on discipline. "He who relies solely on war-like measures shall be exterminated; he who relies solely on peaceful measures shall perish." Sun Tzu as is clear here, advocated a balanced perspective on governance and managing people.

Furthermore he makes us think on the following points:

  1. On which side is discipline more rigorously enforced?
  2. Which army is stronger? (Morally and Physically)- On which side are officers and men more highly trained?
  3. In which army is there the greater constancy both in rewards and punishment?

His three most important strategies were:

- Only enter battles you if you know you can win.

- Deceive your enemies to make them do what you want.

- Lead your people as if you were leading every single man by the hand.

Using human behavior analysis, psychological warfare and governance principles, Sun Tzu had unknowingly not only laid the principles of great warfare but also organizational management.

Do have a look at the book or buy it from here .


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