02 November 2016

Easy Going and Yet Productive and Without Errors - DaoDeJing 73

Management is like the Net - wide sparse but never loose its catch. Most people believe that you must be stressed out in order to be productive and successful. Lao Zi tells us there is a different way. You are stressed out because you are over-controlling. The Dao way is easy going, yet remains productive and without errors in DaoDeJing 73. Find out how to be stress free and productive.
DaoDeJing Chapter 73 Text and Translation

勇于敢则杀,
Dare to do may result in death.

勇于不敢则活。
Dare to refuse to do may lead to life.

此两者或利或害。
To do or not do, there are benefits and also there are harms.

天之所恶,孰知其故?
What the Heaven hates, who can know the true reasons?

是以圣人犹难之。
Even the sages find it difficult to understand.

天之道不争而善胜,
The Dao/Way of Heaven is non-competitive and yet it is great at winning.

不言而善应,
Speak not and yet great in responding.

不召而自来,
Request it not yet it comes automatically

繟然而善谋,
Open-minded and calm and great in strategizing.

天网恢恢,疏而不失。
The net of Heaven is vast and extensive. It is sparse yet loses not anything.

What is boldness? Do or Not do needs boldness.
Boldness without caution is actually recklessness and will lead to death. Boldness is not just about daring to act. At times, it takes boldness, to refrain from acting. It takes boldness to control our impulse and bare being shamed to not to fight and to seek peace. Peace brings life. It also takes boldness to escape from an enemy that is too big and then return later to defeat him. It is like General MacArthur escape from the Philippines when surrounded and returned some years later.

It is not an easy decision - harms or benefits could sometimes be known only much later. The road to peace is paved with the lives of many brave ones. Religions have their martyrs and also those to escape from persecutions to spread the good news and sustain the growth of their beliefs.

What decisions are you making today? 
Lao Zi advises us not to decide recklessly. Please ensure you have considered the facts, all the factors, and all the risks. It takes boldness to do after you have computed and minimized all the risks. It takes boldness to say no too. Have you consider another way, the way of Dao, of not forcing and controlling people to do them your ways? Have you discovered the inner intentions and desires of your people?

Why good people seem to die early and supposedly evil ones live longer and in wealth?
From men's point of view, because we could look at the surface, we have great difficulty in seeing the intention of the inner hearts. How much more difficult it is for us to understand the intention of Heaven. While intentions are difficult to understand but the motivation of people are the same and can be mastered. Just follow the Dao way.

Let's see the Acts of Heaven

1. On Competition
Heaven competes not and yet is good at winning. Jack Ma, the founder, and CEO of Alibaba said. "心中有敌,天下皆为你敌人;心中无敌,无敌于天下。" “If you have the concept enemies in your heart, then everyone in the world shall be your enemy. If you don't hold the concept of enemies in your heart, then no one shall be able to defeat you and you are without any enemy." In the business world, your focus should not be your competitors but rather your customers. If you focus on servicing and creating value for your customers, you shall win against your competitors or even you shall have no competitors at all because they fail to see the needs of your customers.

2. On Speaking vs Doing
Heaven uses its actions to do the talking. Let your customers sing your praises. It is many times more effective than your own  advertisements. Your brand is what customers feel and say about you rather than your claims. Let your products and services do the talking for you.

3. Asking vs Coming at their own will
If you have a good brand and a good reputation, then the customers will come to automatically. You don't have to ask them. Be a flower that attracts the bees to come rather than be the busy bee chasing every single customer and begging him to buy from you.

4. Getting the Key Points vs Total Control
Heaven provides the key ingredients and the general environment for living and then let the various species to decide where and how to live and grow.  Create the culture of trust, set the mission, visions, and values, and then let your people do them their ways. If you want to control people behaviors with many policies and rules and constant monitoring, you are just stressing yourself out. What's more, since you are not the know all, you will drive your company to bankruptcy with bad strategies and unhappy staff.

5. Loose does not mean out of Control
The way of Heaven is like a net, sparse but lose nothing. It teaches us to hold on to key values and leave out the details for the people to have the freedom to act. Point 4 earlier is about creating trust and strategize with open-mindedness and calmness. This point here is putting the stress on the key mission, visions, and values as the strings of the net that hold the people together in the achievement of the visions by the shared values.

The Summary:

Dao is like a large net cast wide, sparse yet never loose its catch. While the coverage is wide, and there are lots of flexibility and freedom given, but the principles are adhered to like the ropes, to ensure success is caught.

1 Mesh: Ropes of Principles, Missions, Objectives, Strategies
2. Wide: The Net covers a wide area and not a narrow focus.
3. Sparse:  But it is sparse with lots of holes, to let the non-important things to go.
4. Caught: Yet, the strings will never miss but catch the items of importance. Just be consistent and give enough time.

Leadership and Management is about letting go the non-importances, giving flexibility, and yet hold on the principles and key issues.

  • Management by Objectives.
  • Management by Principles.
  • Management by Priorities.

Are you controlling too tightly or too loosely? Is it because there is a lack of trust? Is it because there are too much stress and worries of misbehavior?

Re-examine your culture and policies again. It may take a long time to repair and establish the right values, but have the persistence and patient to try. In the longer run, you will succeed and live with ease and productivity.

Lim Liat (c) 2 Nov 2016


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