30 May 2012

Control & Management Principles according to I-Ching

In the real world, things seldom happen according to plan. We hire managers to manage projects, expecting them to take initiatives to resolve whatever issues that may cause the work to deviate from plan. At times, we may even need to change the original plans. At times, we may need to suspend work for a while to resolve certain critical problems; may be just to wait till the storm has passed. At times, we may over-react and make the situation worse rather than better! The statistical control theory people tell us to accept certain deviations from the norm as normal. Interfering with a statistically stable process will only make it worse. I-Ching provides us the following four hexagrams.
  1. Be Realistic and Follow the Principles & Seasons - #25 无妄 Not Bizarre  
  2. A System to Ensure Just Enough of Correction - #60 節 Control  
  3. Discipline+Punishment to Correct Bad Behavior - #21 噬嗑 Biting 
  4. Stop! Contentment in Position & Wait for the Green Light - #52 艮 Mountain
C1 Be Realistic and Follow the Principles & Seasons - #25 无妄 Not Bizarre  
The first principle on Control & Management is to be realistic or be practical. There are physical laws and other behavioral laws that one must accept and cannot be violated without negative consequences. A simple on timing is the seasons. There is the right time for doing the right thing. So, here are the key points that one take note:

     * Be Realistiic and Practical
     * Follow the principles and seasons.
     * Be watcful. Don't go for short-term successes at expense of long term.
     * Stick to the principles and short term challenges will correct itself.

C2 A System to Ensure Just Enough of Correction - #60 節 Control
We need a proper control system to ensure smooth operation and to guard against over exertion of corrective actions. Here are five key recommendations:
    1. A set of Desirable Attributes or Factors– the righteous virtue and conduct.
    2. A set of Targets telling us what is just right.
      If it is a project, there must a plan first. If this is a flow, there must be operating ranges.
    3. A set of Measurements and continued monitoring system. 
    4. The systems and the process of controlling must be efficient and effective. It cannot be too much wasting resources and even hurting people. Neither it can be too little to loose direction.
    5. We should ignore variations from the targets within certain control limits. We trust the system to correct itself.
C3 Discipline+Punishment to Correct Bad Behavior - #21 噬嗑 Biting
Discipline and punishment need to be administered to ensure bad behaviors are not repeated and be corrected. The rules, expectation and consequences must be made clear at the start. It is only through practice and through mistakes that we can learn the right behavior. It must be applied according to the situations and person and be balanced.

C4 Stop! Contentment in Position & Wait for the Green Light - #52 艮 Mountain
There must be traffic light type system to warn us when to stop and when to go. We should dare to stop when the season is over or our position is wrong. We don't always have to be on the move. When the time or the position is wrong, we need to be patient and be contented with staying at our current position. We take this time to equip ourselves and to prepare for the next big thing. We don't need to be envious of others and try to copy their practices that are not natural to us. Premature movement and incorrect copying do more harm than good. 

Note: For all the principles presented, digging deeper into the related hexagram with the detailed study of the 6 line-stages of the hexagram will give us further wisdom. The details of the complete 64 Hexagrams can be found in Manage Change with I-Ching (registration is required).


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Lim Liat (C) 30 May 2012

Making I-Ching Come Alive!

Learning is best done when we see a need for it. So here is a regrouping of I-Ching 64 Hexagrams into a broader categories for ease of application. Each category is a real life situation with which we can easily identify. We can pick the category that best suit our need and then dig into the Hexagram to find the jewels of wisdom needed. Hope you can enjoy the wisdom of I-Ching better this way.
After writing two posts on the applications of I-Ching, namely for Relationship Building in Relationship Building According to I-Ching and for Leadership in 4 Basic and 5 Orientation Principles of Leadership from I-Ching, I find it may be more useful present the wisdom of I-Ching in a more organized way for ease of applications.

The General Principles of I-Ching

Let me first recap the main principles of I-Ching wisdom.
  1. Principle of Continued Cyclic Change and through 6-Stages within the Cycles.
    1. Life is about growth and growth is change. Yet the change is predictable. 
    2. Change follows a cyclical pattern and it follows certain unchanging principles. If we can predict well, it means our predictive model is working well. Hence we can take steps recommended in our model to influence the predicted outcomes. We are therefore responsible for the outcomes and the well being of our life. 
    3. If you follow EW Deming's definition of the job of a manager, which is to predict the outcome accurately (and thereby take steps to influence it), then you must master I-Ching. 
  2. Principles are derived from the working of Heavens of Earth.
    1. If you believe in a God, then the principles are the ways of God as taught in the Bible or other religious books. They are also the natural order of nature as God has created. If you don't believe in a God, then the principles are the ways of working of nature including the cosmos, living things and the eco-systems.
    2. The thinking of man has changed from the 20th century thinking of man conquering nature to the 21st century thinking of man following and using the working of nature. It is back to the 5000 years old thinking of I-Ching.
  3. Principle of Righteousness
    1. Righteousness is about obeying the principles of Heaven and Earth, i.e. the Laws of Nature and of God.
    2. It includes virtues like love, justice, integrity, faithfulness, purity, fairness and balance between extremes.
  4. Principle of Integrative Dynamic Balance of Bipolar Forces
    1. Between polar attribute pairs of Yang and Yin.
    2. Yang – Yin pairs include:  Action – Response, Male – Female, Day – Night, Hot-Cold, Hard – Soft, Push – Pull, Move – Stop, Forward – Reversed, Open-Close, Future – Past, Truth – Love, Justice – Compassion etc.
    3. There is always Yin in Yang and Yang in Yin and never only one extreme. It is the interaction of Yin and Yang that produces the abundant of varieties of life.
    4. Bipolar is just a simplification in our thinking. In reality, it may have more than 2 factors. Our job is then holding the multiple factors in tension to fit the situation we are in.
  5. Principle of Abundance from Harmony, Flow and Sharing.
    1. Fortune is not just an accumulation of things. Fortune is not just about abundance, but about harmony of interactions, smooth flow and sharing of abundance.
    2. It is about harmony between men and heave(God) and Earth(nature).
    3. Harmony is unity of diversities and not uniformity.
    4. Synergy is of diversities with each contributing its strength to the growth of the whole.
The mind-set of I-Ching master is 
  1. Base on the foundation of the Righteousness Principles
  2. Decision should depends on the situation and more specifically on the timing(trend) and positioning(terrain) in relation to the situation.
  3. And holding in balance among the multiple demands and views of the stakeholders.
  4. The balance is dynamic and not static as the implementation of any change program triggers further changes.
  5. It is like driving a car. Even when we plan the destination and the routes, we need to watch for the traffic, the behaviors of the car in front, at the back and around us. We may meet up with traffic jams, road blocks, bad weathers, flooding, earthquakes, and even faults in our own car. 
In short, read - apply - watch - adjust over time, space and multiple agents.
The Re-Grouped Applications Based I-Ching Mind-map.
Here is the my latest ( I improve it over time) mind-map:


Let's start with the first, "Leadership", in 

4 Basic and 5 Orientation Principles of Leadership from I-Ching



The complete list is:

  1. Making I-Ching Come Alive! The Key Principles & Applications
  2. 4 Basic and 5 Orientation Principles of Leadership from I-Ching
  3. Control & Management Principles according to I-Ching
  4. Relationship Building According to I-Ching
  5. Stage 1 Start-Up and The Guidelines from I-Ching
  6. Stage 2 Developing Your Business - Some Jewels from I-Ching
  7. Stage 3 Waiting for the Next Big Thing - Insights from I-Ching
  8. Stage 4 Overcome Obstacles - Some Nuggets from I-Ching
  9. Stage 5 Growth - 8 Keys for Scaling Up
  10. Stage 6 Success that Lasts - 5 Keys for Staying at the Top
  11. Stage 7 Joy of the Truly Rich - 5 Gems from I-Ching
  12. Stage 8 Preventing the Inevitable Decline - 3 Guides from I-Ching
  13. Stage 9 How to Get Out of the Pit - 5 Transformational Wisdom from I-Ching

Lim Liat(C) 30 May 2012

29 May 2012

4 Basic and 5 Orientation Principles of Leadership from I-Ching

Leadership is not a simple one-sided affair of either being task oriented boss or people-oriented leader. It is holding multiple factors in tension and the right balance depending on the people and the situations. I-Ching gives us at least 9 factors for our consideration. They are innovation, loving nurturing, integrity, humility, mission centric, people-centric, diversities centric, cultural centric and talents centric.

Many people are overwhelmed by i-Ching 64 hexagrams. Without a good understanding, they resort to lot-casting to get a forecast for their future and to get some guidance. That is not the right way to use the wisdom of i-Ching. For the right way see The Right Way to Consult I-Ching.

This is the 2nd in a series of posts that regroup I-Ching hexagrams into major grouping for ease of understanding and applications. The first is Relationship Building According to I-Ching.

4 Basic and 5 Orientation Leadership Principles
A leader is someone who is able to motivate a group of people to accomplish shared mission together. It involves setting mission, visions, and values. It involves working, motivating, coaching and relating to people. It involves organizing them and assigning tasks according to their strengths. It allows a diversity of strengths to work harmoniously to accomplish the goals in the most effective and efficient manner. Leadership is not an either choice of being a people-centric coach-type leader or an autocratic slave-driving boss. It is a careful analysis of the people, mission and situations and a dynamic application of principles to get the different people to work towards a common goal. 

This is best shown in the mind-map below:


First Principle: 01乾 Heaven - Creative Power & Innovate without end
Leadership begins with taking an initiative creating a mission and a series of visions. It is an endless effort of innovating and realizing vision after vision for endless growth. Leaders that fail to innovate and keep up with changes will be retired. One should raise up the 2nd generation and hand over before one retires. The details of the 6-stage life-cycle of a leader in given in the Hexagram Heaven. 

Second Principle:   02坤 Earth - Receptive Love, Nurture, and Multiply
The second principle is to accept, love, nurture, and care for your people and assets including your environment. Nurturing and care will give the multiplication for growth. Any initiative taken by principle 1 will need to be accepted, carefully implemented, refined and optimized over time. 

Third Principle:   61中孚  Integrity - Create Right Bonding
The foundation of any relationship is Integrity. It is more than just being honest. It is about being accountable and delivering our promises. In an opened, transparent and accountable environment will we have good relationships and effectiveness. Office politics, gossips, and misunderstanding will be kept to a minimum in such environment.

Fourth Principle: 15謙 Humility - Ability with Gentleness
In this world of greater complexity and speed of change, what we know can be easily obsoleted. CEOs are not longer the know all. Humility should be one of the greatest strength that leaders should have. Humility is not saying we cannot when we can. That is false humility or even evading responsibility. I-Ching's concept of humility is about ability covered with gentleness. it is having the ability and resource and not boasting about them. When the situations call for it, humility requires that we come out and serve, giving our best. But we serve with gentleness and we don't fight for recognition or to seek the glory. When a mission is accomplished, we quietly withdraw. Learning, and learning without end, is the attitude of humility because as we know more, we come to realize that there are more to learn. We can learn from anyone, anytime and anywhere. 

Fifth Principle: 07師 Army - Mobilization & Tasks Centred Leadership
When need to mobilize large forces and to scale up quickly, we know we need a clear mission, laws and orders, and strict discipline. We can be strict and yet still be loving. There is not conflict. In I-Ching, we learn to hold multiple factors in tension and in balance. We need to change the balance when the situation and the people (especially their development and growth) changes. So we don't take these principles are mutually exclusive but hold them in tension and balance according to the situation.

Sixth Principle:  19臨 Approach - People-Centered Servant Leadership
This principle reminded that people are the key in an organization or team. It also tells us that people are not machine or dogs without dignity. Engaging people in any work requires us to serve them well so that they can in term serve others well. 

Seventh Principle: 38睽 Deviation - Synergizing Differences, Diversity Leadership
This principle tells  us that the people that we have are not the same. Each has his own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes and they have a different background. We need to thank them for the diversities that they bring. Synergy comes from the integration of different strengths. In this globalization, diverse cultures, races, and religions are brought together. This ability to appreciate differences and harmonizing them to work together will be most important. The study of Adaptive Complex Systems tells us that diversities bring stability of endless innovation and growth. 

Eight Principle: 45萃 Congregation - Cultural Leadership
Any organization is a congregation of people of different varieties. We need to create the environment, and namely, the culture for them to relate well and work together. Principle 7 points out the diversities whereas this principle points out the need to work together happily.

Ninth Principle: 50鼎 Caldron -Talents Leadership & Matching Jobs to People
This principle tells that we need to search and bring in the talents. Even tough talents are important, one's character is even more so. it tells us to have principles centered and the sharing of rewards. It also tells us that we need to manage the talents well by ensuring that the jobs and the talents match. Assign A level people to A level jobs. Assigning an A-level person to a C-level job will demotivate him and causes one to misunderstand his ability or losing him to other organization. 

It is important to remind ourselves once again that we need to hold all these 9 factors in tension. Innovation without execution will fail. Execution alone without innovation will also fail as the market shifts to other products. Tasks oriented without concern about people will get the minimum from the people. Yet people-centered only without mission will be just a good social gathering not accomplishing much. Not appreciating diversities and congregation at the same time will end in infighting and decline of the organization.


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Previous:Making I-Ching Come Alive! The Key Principles & Applications
Next:Control & Management Principles according to I-Ching

Lim Liat (C) 29 May 2012

17 May 2012

Word Cloud of I-Ching

Using Word Cloud programs on I-Ching text reveals the key teachings. It is simply that following righteousness brings you harmony and great fortune or blessings.
What are the more important thing, the ideas, or words in an article? How fast can we pick them out? The answer is quick simple. Run a Word-Cloud program to visually show them.

There are two word-cloud program that I know will work well for Chinese documents.
  1. http://timc.idv.tw/wordcloud/en/
  2. http://www.tagxedo.com/
Tagxedo provides the user greater control over the analysis and display. I will begin with Tagxedo. 

Since I-Ching was written in Chinese. It is best to use the original Chinese document for analysis. The I-Ching document that I used contain only the original Zhou Yi 周易 text. All other text from the later addition of 易传 such as 彖, 大象, 小象. 文言 included  the usual I-Ching are removed. As an example, the first hexagram Qian contains the following text:

  1乾: 元 亨 利 贞
  潜龙,勿用。
  见龙在田,利见大人。
  君子终日乾乾,夕惕若,厉,无咎。
  或跃在渊,无咎。
  飞龙在天,利见大人。
  亢龙有悔。
  用九:见群龙无首,吉。

I ran the Tagxedo program with the following setting: Classic.


Classic uses the counts of the words/phases as the size of the words. 

The words and counts are shown below:

The Word Cloud is:

Here is one from http://timc.idv.tw/wordcloud/zh/#file on the same I-Ching text file:

When I play with options to shrink or expand the words and gaps, I occasionally get a different word-cloud as follow (with the 无咎 missing):


What are the key concepts from I- ?
Here they are:

  1. 吉 ji:  福也 Good Fortune or Blessing. 
  2. 无咎 wu jiu.  No fault,  no disaster or no sins. 
  3. 亨 heng. smooth flowing. no obstruction.
  4. 利 li beneficial or advantageous. More precisely, harmony or peace with righteousness. It is order with the laws.
    (See. 《易·文言》:“利者,义之和也;贞者,事之干也。”
    《子夏传》云:‘元,始也;亨,通也;利,和也;贞,正也。’” )
  5. 贞吉 Pure and Good.
  6. 有孚 Have Integrity, trustworthiness.
  7. 利贞: 和谐贞正。Harmony and righteousness.
  8. 凶 disaster.
  9. 元 great beginning.
It is very clear from the word analysis that I-Ching is telling about how to attain Good Fortune or Blessing, to live without faults, to move smoothly even over obstruction, be in harmony, by following righteousness, to be pure and just.

There are other powerful words too, be a gentleman 君子, do great projects by crossing great rivers 利涉大川.

To know more on I-Ching, see Ancient Chinese Wisdom.

Lim Liat(C) 17 May 2012

07 May 2012

Wisdom in Chinese includes Both Left & Right Brain

Wisdom in Chinese includes cold logic and creativity with feelings. Know enough to talk about it. Able to create the diversities and understand the feelings of the heart. It is logic and intuition.
In Learning Chinese Words Makes You Smarter we cover a number of Chinese words that give many meaningful details about the concept expressed in the words. Here is another one.

Wisdom is Chinese is "智慧" Zhi Hui.

智 Zhi is also translated as wisdom or full of knowledge. It is usually more meaningful to see the components of the word. In this case, it is 知 know and 曰    say. Knowing and saying form the word wisdom or knowledge. Say can be taken as teach. Rephrasing what we know is a good way to show that we really understand a subject. Being able to teach others also shows one's grasp of the knowledge. Knowledge is about facts.

慧 Hui is also translated as wisdom, smartness, and even to the extend of cunningness. Again, it is better to look at the components. It is made up of 心 heart, 彗 hui (the shooting star, comet, is known as 彗星). 彗 in turns is made up of :

So we can infer that the 2nd word of wisdom is about heart being able to contain many plants or flowers which may signify diversities, varieties, beauty, creativity. Heart also speaks of feeling and emotion and intuition. It is able to hold even seemingly conflicting diversities together.

It no wonder that Taiwanese Professor of Design 姚仁禄 (著名设计师) said that Left Brain is 智 and Right Brain is 慧. (左脑代表智,右脑代表慧).

So, for Chinese, wisdom means the ability to analyse a situation with cold facts and to share it. It also includes the ability to grasp the diversities of issues that touch the heart and feelings of the people. Chinese wisdom is cold logic and yet heart warming. It is a solution that creates harmony in midst of diversities. It is rational and motivating. It touches the brain and the heart and creating innovations that bring joy and harmony.

Lim Liat (C) 7 May 2012

04 May 2012

What Ancient Chinese Can Teach Us about Learning

How to share the most using the minimum of space?
Visual mapping is a good way. But it takes effort and many iterations to get the right one. Here is one with form and content. I hope you can learn something from it.
Learning from the Ancient Chinese about Learning: The attitudes, objectives, methods and learning in group. Tools can change, from bamboo sticks and sands to PC and iPad, but the other more important things like objectives, attitudes and principles that change not.
I am revising some of the slides for my course "Creative and Visual Thinking for Breakthrough Ideas". Some of my mind-maps extend through several slides and so reduces the impact of the visual mind-maps. An example is from my earlier post Learning about Learning from Ancient Chinese. You can see that I use 5 pictures, sub-maps, to show the 'Chinese Learning Wisdom'.

One of the present weakness of many mind-mapping software is the inability of the software to compact and squeeze the entire map into one page without wasting white-space. Novamind seems to be one the better ones that solve this problem.

So, after some revising and grouping of the mind-map, and hiding the less important details, here is the "Ancient Chinese Wisdom on Learning" in one page.


Hope you find this map useful.

Lim Liat (C) 4 May 2012