04 May 2017

Work Hard or Work Smart to be Successful? Let Sun Zi tells you.

The Either-Or Western Mindset

The Western Mindset is typically Either A or B, so choose one. It creates endless arguments to settle the scores. As example. "Do you need to work hard or work smart?". Some will say work hard. Some others will say work smart.

Here is an attempt to harmonize the issues, These 2 Four-Letter Words Are the True Secret of Success. The author's argument is you need to work harder than others in the domain where there are lots of smart people.

He only knows one part of SunZi, which is to know others know self and be better than others to win.

However, he does not know Sun Zi also says, "Warfare is doing the unexpected, breaking the rules, changing the business models".

Let Sun Zi shows you:

So, if you read Sun Zi, you need to know what others are doing first and then change the rule of the games, and then work hard on the new games you created before others realize them to catch up with you.

The Story of Goliath vs David:

See 1 Samuel 17 - David and Goliath

Know Others then Know Self:
David knows that Goliath is much much stronger than him. Goliath is also a skillful warrior with swords, shields, spears, and the conventional close-contact fight. If David is going to fight on Goliath's terms, a close contact fight, then he will surely lose. King Saul then thought that the fight was going to be close contact fight so he offered his own armor and swords. If David took Saul's advice, he would be killed. The weakest spot in Goliath's armor was the uncovered part of the eyes.

Do the Unexpected - Change the Rule of the Game and Attack the Weakest Spot
So for David to win the fight, he must change the rule of the game. He must come out with a solution that can kill Goliath at a distance before Goliath can get near to him. The answer was to use a sling and project the stone into Goliath's armor weakness spot, the eye. The rest is history.

What About Your Business?

Who are your target customers?

In your customers' eyes,
  • who are your competitors?
  • what are their strong points?
  • what are their weaknesses?
What are the business models?
What are the business games played?
What are the rules and common assumptions, and restrictions?
What are those "we always do it these ways"?

Can you change the rules of play such that your abilities become strengths in the eyes of your customers and your competitors' strengths become irrelevant or weak?

Now, work very hard to think of them can come out with the answers.
Work very hard also to find out to realize and implement your new business offerings.

You must recall that Apple's iPod is NOT just a better mp3 player (it was not, Creative Technology Nomad are better technically in many ways then), it was a component in the game-changing world of music purchase and delivery. It is about one dollar a song on the move and not 20 songs packed in a CD that you go to a retailer to buy.

Think very hard on smart first and then work very hard to achieve the speed to the objectives. That's is the answer from Sun Zi. Hard and Smart are just Yin-Yang in the Chinese Mindset. You need both and each has a bit of the other in them.

For more on Sun Zi see Sun Zi and Other Strategists
See also Work Hard or Work Smart - The Better Answer

Lim Liat (c) 4 May 2017

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