25 June 2012

Stage 4 Overcome Obstacles - Some Nuggets from I-Ching

It is not too often that our start-up progresses smoothly according to plan. There are obstacles on the way that we should and could avoid and some that we have to overcome or get freed from. We have 6 nuggets of advice from I-Ching covering litigation, danger, freedom, breakthrough, boxed-in and quake. 
The best strategy is to prevent a bad thing from happening. The next best thing is to overcome it once we are trapped in the bad situation. These are the two main strategies we can employed in six different situations that
I-Ching warns us about.

O1 #06 訟 Litigation -Preventing and Resolving
The best way to prevent litigation is to have a good contract. Some people do not even have a contract when they start their business or engage in any business activity. They either believe in trust or find such administrative tasks too tedious and unfruitful. While having a contract is no guarantee for a successful relationship or outcome, it serves to clarify understanding and serve as a basis from which further negotiation can be built upon.

One must spend good effort in coming out with a good contract. It must covers as many key scenarios as possibles. The least of which is to provide for exit and the settlement clauses. The advice from Ancient Chinese in doing business is 先小人后君子, that is to be details and even nasty in drawing up the contracts and then be like a gentleman in the execution of the contract.

In the unfortunate event that a legal is suite is needed, here are the additional advice: 
  1. settle as early possible. go for mediation and out of court settlement if possible. Entering into any legal process is going to take time and costs.
  2. build support, a strong network, and other evidences of strong integrity and reputation.
  3. get wise & fair judge. If there be any doubt about the judge, ask for a change.
  4. Uprightness is key to winning. Winning a court case on a bad footing is actually a lost. 
O2 #29 坎 The Pit of Danger - Be watchful & Righteous
The safe way of not falling into any man-hole is to watch out for them and to stay clear of them. Most conman are able to victimized people because they make use of their greed. Staying in the righteous path is sure way to prevent us to be conned. The types of traps that people can laid for us are best summarized in 3G of Gold, Glory and Girls (See O5 Boxed-In for more). 

I-Ching tells us any object can be used both way (yin-yang). A danger for us could be used as a protection to keep the enemy away as well. See if you can make use of threats as opportunities. Software virus is a nuisance for us but is a business opportunity for the virus software developers. Instrumentation to warn people of impending danger are good businesses too. 

Entrepreneurs minimize risks and only fools are blind risks takers.

O3 #40 解 Freed - Get Freed and Stay Freed
Freedom is about being freed from any bondage to do the good and righteous thing and thereby bringing blessings to all. Freedom is obtained by quick and decisive actions of breaking away and staying away from danger, bad influence and bad friends. It is about have clear thinking, seeking the interests of others, not showing off and forgiving others. Showing off one wealth or ability will attract unnecessary people to approach you for money and favors. Not forgiving others will just load you with bitterness. In business, especially start-ups, there will be many opportunities of encountering people that promises a lots and yet never deliver and even betraying you. You must be fast to learn the incidents, forgive them and move on with your life and business.  

O4 #43 夬 Breakthrough – Power with Caution
I advise young people to develop their strengths and outsource their weaknesses so that they can be champion. If we just concentrate on fixing our weaknesses, even if we succeed, we are just a mediocre average. Champions are built based on your strengths - the things that you like and do well easily. Doing things using your strengths will not only have excellent quality but will also energize you. 

But your strength comes with a caution. Do misuse or abuse it. Use it for doing good. Do not be proud. Do not be a show-off. Do not seek self-glory. Do not cross into other boundaries. Do not despise others. Don't try to do too much and to loose focus.

O5 #47 困 Boxed-In – Hope in Difficulty & Breaking Free
Being boxed-in and trapped is a bad situation to be in. The key is to have HOPE and work to break free. Rejoice in adverse circumstances. Don’t believe in the negative and discouraging messages. Maintain your positive attitudes. 
Here are the typical traps that will box you in:
  1. Darkness or ignorance or lack of knowledge or lies. Learn the truth. Get wisdom and break free.
  2. Pleasures. It is so easy to be lured away in pleasures. In Chinese Wisdom, using beauty is a famous strategy. 
  3. Stones and Thorns. The typical attack is to pressure and prosecute you. Give you lots of complains and troubles. Stay calm and solve the problem one by one. Don't panic.
  4. Riches.
  5. Power and Glory.
  6. Anxiety and Fear. 
O6 6 #51 震 Quake- Risk Management - Prepared & Recovery
Be prepare for worse and other unseen events, then you can have the peace of mind even when the disaster happens. 

Develop this mental alertness and do proper risk management – find critical factors, plan recovery, implement, test and review regularly. Be prepared for the eventuality. Remember to test and practice so that when the eventuality happen, everyone knows the right thing to do and do it quickly so as to minimize the damage. I-Ching even have a very contrasting of picture of the prepared one having laughter and the unprepared neighbor suffering because the disaster that has happened.

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Lim Liat (C) 25 June 2012

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