10 December 2017

The Treasures of the Art of War - Emotion

Decision making can and should involve the emotions of the people affected but should never be done emotionally by the decision maker. --- Lim Liat's distillation of Sun Zi's Art of War.
Just reading from the original text of the Sun Zi's Art of War without a deeper reflection will not help you master the Art of War. Only by integrating and distilling the whole book would you truly learn and apply them wisely in your work.

Original Quotes:

The Disasters of Acting Because One is Angry:
12v16. No ruler should start a war because he is angry. No general should attack because he is upset.
17. Move only because there are benefits to gain. Stop because there are no more benefits.
18. Anger over time can change to happiness. Upset can become satisfaction over time.
19. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed cannot be re-established; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.
20. Hence the wise ruler is prudent, and the good general watchful. This is the way to keep a country at peace and the army intact.

Emotion as a Factor in Planning:

In fact, getting the enemy to be angry is a way to win over him as in 1v23 If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him.

9v30 If the officers are angry [with the general], it means that the men are weary

9v35 If the enemy’s troops march up angrily and remain facing ours for a long time without either joining the battle or taking themselves off again, the situation is one that demands great vigilance and circumspection [since it may be a ruse].

The anger of the Middle Management: 
One of 6 Types of Sickness of a Failing Organization - Collapse

10v18 When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate, and transfer their anger on the enemy they meet and engage in battle with them before the general can decide whether he is able, this is called collapse.

The kind of Commitment and Devotion you want:

11v25. Hence, the men without training are disciplined, without demanding are all ready, without contracts are all closely knitted, without any order they are trusted.

How, by loving, but not indulgencing, them:

10v28. Regard your men as your children, and they will follow you into the deep rivers; treat them as your own beloved children, and they will even die with you. 29. However, if you are so forgiving so that you could not command them; so loving that they don’t follow your orders, then they are just like spoilt children, and they are useless.

And by using the situational factors as in 11v21-26 to get the devotion in 11v26 above.

So, don't make any decision when you are in an emotionally charged state, either with anger or remorse. Yet, you must calmly and objectively take into considerations the emotions and feelings of the people involved in the plans that you are going to execute. You must gain the hearts and not just the mind of the people who are executing the plans.

Lim Liat (c) 10 Dec 2018

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