14 September 2017

How Game Theory Explains Sun Zi vs Gui Gu Zi - Gui Gu Zi's Wisdom#2


GuiGuZi vs SunZi wisdom is best illustrated with Game Theory's The Prisoners' Dilemma.
The Dilemma Case is:
Two suspects were caught in robbing a bank. However, besides the possession of a gun, there is no evidence to charge them. If they both remain silent, they can only be charged with the illegal possession of a gun with a jail term of 1 year. If one confesses to implicate the other, he can go free while the other goes to jail for 20 years. If both confess, then each will get a 5-year jail term.
If each prisoner considers his best interest strategy, using Sun Zi’s thinking, they will confess and get 5 years. If they colluded with Gui Gu Zi’s thinking, they could get off with a 1-year jail term.
Using the Matrix shown in the picture, since Prisoner A is kept from talking to Prisoner B, they cannot collude. Using SunZi Kiasu Conservative Threat-Before-Opportunity approach, he considers the best strategy under the worse condition and will choose the dominant strategy of confession and get a 5-year jail term.
Under GuiGuZi's wisdom of forming an alliance, perhaps A & B have discussed the possible capture and have predicted the outcome, they can pre-colluded and hence choose the best strategy of non-confessing. In which case, both A and B, with their pre-agreement, will get away with a 1-year jail term.
So you can see that under this specific situations, and in many real life situations, forming strategic alliance well, is likely to give better outcomes than a competition.
Hope you can see the importance of strategic alliances and the power of GuiGuZi's thinking. Actually, if you read Sun Zi carefully, Sun Zi is for peace and not war. Sun Zi said the best is to attack the strategies, next worse is negotiations, next is to fight in the open, and the worst is attack a fortified city. Sun Zi said the best strategy is to win without a fight. Sun Zi covers the topic of a fight. If you have to fight then at least make sure you win. GuiGuZi covers a different topic - How can we form an alliance and pursue a shared goal to win and benefits together.
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If you are a Project Manager and is familiar with the PMI PJM certification, you will know it covers 11 soft skills. All the PJM soft skills like leadership, team building, negotiations, decision makings etc are covered in GuiGuZi's Book of 14 chapters almost one for one.
Here is open-close for the Project Manager Soft Skills:

If you want to master a complete integrated set of soft skills rather than the typical Western Silos of sub-topic of leadership, influencing etc separately, you need to study GuiGuZi. Chinese philosophies and TCM always take a total system view of things rather than studying each subsystem like each organ separately as if they are not related. This is the 2nd reason why you must learn and adopt the Chinese Mindset. (The 1st is the Both-it-depends yin-yang mindset covered in the earlier post).
In future posts on GuiGuZi, we will do chapter by chapter.
If you have any questions, or wisdom to share, please feel free to add your comments.
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