29 May 2021

The Heart of Management - Assessing the People's Hearts

When we do a search on "What is management", we get the following definitions,

  • the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.
  • Management is a process of planning, decision making, organizing, leading, motivation, and controlling the human resources, financial, physical, and information resources of an organization to reach its goals efficiently and effectively.
  • Management is a set of principles which relate to various functions such as planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, controlling, etc. which are helpful in achieving organizational goals.
These definitions focus on the how-to of management. The Chinese have a different perspective of management that offers insights. 

曾仕强 ZengShiQiang, recognized as the father of Chinese style management, said:

管理是一种历程, 起点是修己,终点是安人 (https://kknews.cc/zh-sg/career/av9m6vx.html)
Management is a journey, with the character development of self as a starting point, and ending with giving people security.

In the early Tang Dynasty, Li Yifu (Chinese: 李義府; 614–666) who was a chancellor, said that management is actually managing the hearts of people. He wrote a famous book 读心术 Skills of Assessing the Hearts, which teaches us how to assess the hearts of people and with that understanding help us to able to better manage them.

Below is my mind-map summarizing the 10 chapters of his book. The details of each chapter are presented after the mind-map.

The Full Translation of the Book:
More details are given in each chapter which I find them very useful and so my full translations are provided below:

·        度心第一:治吏治心,知人知欲|
Discern the Heart: Management is Managing Hearts. Know their abilities, traits, desires, fear

    • 吏者,能也,治之非易焉。
      Officials are capable and hence they are not easily managed. i.e. learn how to manage
    • 仁者,鲜也,御之弗厚焉。
      Benevolent people are rare, hence can't manage the officials with kindness/broad-heartedness. Theory-X for most people. Theory-Y for the rare cases.
    • 志大不朝,欲寡眷野
      Those with high aspirations do not want to work for others. Those who want simple life will like to live in the wilderness. i.e. 2 kinds of people will not work for you -those who want to be their own bosses & those who want the free wilderness life.
    • 才高不羁,德薄善诈。
      The capable cannot be controlled. The villains like to cheat. i.e. stress on purpose for the wise and rules for the villains.
    • 民之所畏,吏无惧矣。
      Things that people fear to do will not worry the officials. => if you don't want people to do; create fear of such.
    • 狡吏恃智,其勇必缺,迫之可也。
      Sly officials rely on their wisdom and will lack guts, threaten them will work.
    • 悍吏少谋,其行多疏,挟之可也。
      The gutsy officials scheme less, their work has many mistakes, catch them to force them to obey.
    • 廉吏固傲,其心系名,誉之可也。
      The clean officials value pride and their reputation, praise them.
    • 治吏治心,明主不弃背己之人也。
      Manage officials by managing their hearts. The wise kings do not fire those who go against them =>forgiven brings forth gratefulness and loyalty.
    • 知人知欲,智者善使败德之人焉。
      Know a person through knowing their desires. The wise is good at managing the villains whose desires are already known.

·        御心第二 - 树威以信
Manage the Hearts - Create Awe through trustworthiness. Be generous, fair, get talents, address complaints, righteous & virtuous.

o   民所求者,生也;君所畏者,乱也。
People seek to live; Kings fear chaos.

o   无生则乱,仁厚则安。
Not able to make a living will create chaos. King and benevolence will bring security.

o   民心所向,善用者王也。
The one who can make use of the people's visions will be king.

o   人忌吏贪,示廉者智也。
People hate corrupted officials. Those who show they are not corrupt are wise.

o   众怨不积,惩恶勿纵。
Don't accumulate people's complaints --- address them. Don't be lenient to the evildoers --- punish them.

o   不礼于士,国之害也,治国固厚士焉。
Not treating the scholars well is harmful to the nation. Managing a nation must treat the scholars well.

o   士子娇纵,非民之福,有国者患之。
Letting the scholars be lawless is not beneficial to the people. The rulers worry about such.

o   士不怨上,民心堪定矣。
Scholars not complaining about the rulers, then the people will be contented.

o   严刑峻法,秦之亡也,三代盛典,德之化也。
Too severe punishments were the reasons for Qin's downfall. The success of the earlier 3 dynasties was the result of virtuous character development.

o   权重勿恃,名高勿寄,树威以信也。
Don't count on authority, rely on high reputation, but to create awe through trustworthiness.

·        擒心第三 - 情坚无及义重
Capture the Heart - Commitment is stronger than emotional attachment. Recognize talents, be forgiving, assign right jobs, get faithful, don't motivate with money only,

o   德不悦上,上赏其才也。
Those with virtues do not try to gain favors of the top. The top recognizes their abilities.

o   才不服下,下敬其恕也。Capability alone does not convince your subordinates. They respect you because of your forgiveness of their errors

o   才高不堪贱用,贱则失之。Those capable cannot be used for small jobs. You will lose them.

o   能傲莫付权贵,贵则毁己。Those with low capability cannot be entrusted with authority. Raising them will destroy you.

o   才大无忠者,用之祸烈也。Those capable but not loyal if employed will create great disaster.

o   人不乏其能,贤者不拒小智。Everyone has no lack of ability. The virtuous will not reject little wisdom.

o   智或存其失,明者或弃大谋。The wise may commit errors. The discerning may neglect to strategize.

o   不患无才,患无用焉。Not concern about lack of abilities but worry about not putting them to good use.

o   技显莫敌禄厚,堕志也。Those capable are not able to fight great rewards. Great rewards cause one to lose aspirations. So don't just use the money to attract them; add other motivators.

o   情坚无及义重,败心矣。Strong on emotional relationships loses out to commitment to righteousness. Emotional attachment will not last.

·        欺心第四 - 人欺不怒
Deception - Angry not when deceived. Stay calm, be discerning, watch out for flattery, be not self-deceived.

o   愚人难教,欺而有功也。The fools are difficult to be taught. It is better to trick them.

o   智者亦俗,敬而增益也。The wise are also common. Respect them and you can gain.

o   自知者明,人莫说之。Those who know themselves are wise. People don't have to tell them.

o   身危者骇,人勿责之。Those in danger are fearful. People should not blame them or else.

o   无信者疑,人休蔽之。Those that are untrustworthy are suspicious. People should not try to hide things from them - tell them the truth is better.

o   诡不惑圣,其心静焉。Trickery could not tempt the saints because their heart is calm and desire not.

o   正不屈敌,其意谲(jue)焉。The righteous do not win against the enemy because they are cunning.

o   诚不悦人,其神媚焉。Honesty does not get favors from people because people prefer flattery.

o   自欺少忧,醒而愁剧也。Self-deceived has less worry. Too alert causes anxiety.

o   人欺不怒,忿而再失矣。Be not angry when cheated else in one anger one loses even more.

·        纵心第五 - 名固正也
Letting Go - Be fair & right. Know what to limit and let go. Treat gentlemen or villains accordingly.

o   国盛势衰,纵其强损焉。A strong nation going downwards is because they bully others without restrain

o   人贵势弱,骄其志折焉。Powerful people growing weak is because their pride destroy their aspiration

o   功高者抑其权,不抑其位。Those with great contributions should be limited in their authority but keeping their position. e.g. promote successful SBU chief to Chief Research Scientist

o   名显者重其德,不重其名。Famous people should build their virtues and not their names.

o   败寇者纵之远,不纵之近。Let the defeated enemy go far away and not let them stay close.

o   君子勿拘,其心无拘也。Don't limit the gentlemen because their heart has high aspiration. Hire them, give them the mission and let them run.

o   小人纵欲,其心惟欲也。The villain follows their lusts. What they think of is but their unquenchable lusts. So be careful of them, they will do whatever to fulfill their lusts.

o   利己纵之,利人束之,莫以情易耳。Go after what benefits oneself and limit those that benefit others. Never change that because of emotional reasons. i.e. Don't miss the opportunity.

o   心可纵,言勿滥也。Within the heart, we can think of anything but the speech must be controlled. i.e. watch what you say or disclose.

o   行可偏,名固正也。We can commit some mistakes but protect our reputation for righteousness. i.e. be bold to face up & learn from mistakes.

·        构心第六 - 容人者释忿
Joining Hearts/Partnering - Accept others weaknesses & strengths; remove anger; forgiving failures; be generous;

o   富贵乃争,人相构也。Wealth & Power are what people fight for. i.e. know how to compete well.

o   生死乃命,心相忌也。People who think 'Life and Death are in the hands of God' are bitter against one another. i.e. Don't blame God, we are responsible for our life.

o   构人以短,莫毁其长。Using his weakness to attract him and don't destroy his strengths. i.e. that's the principle of partnership - complementary

o   伤人于窘,勿击其强。Attack when they weak and not when they are strong i.e. check first to see if you can win and not anyhow start a war

o   敌之不觉,吾必隐真矣。Even when the enemy knows not, we must hide our truth. i.e. keep secrets and don't count on the enemy will not discover.

o   贬之非贬,君子之谋也。Demoting a person without demoting as the objective is the plan of the gentlemen. i.e.demoting as a means to bring to his awareness of his errors so that he can be better.

o   誉之非誉,小人之术也。Praising without truth is the technique of the villain. i.e. watch out for those that flatter rather than true praise.

o   主臣相疑,其后谤成焉。King and officials suspecting one another will result in rumors accepted as true. i.e. build trust and stop all bad-mouthing and accusations.

o   人害者众,弃利者免患也。Many are harmed by others and giving away benefits can avoid such harms. i,e. be more generous.

o   无妒者稀,容人者释忿哉。Few are without jealousy, so broadly accepting and forgiving others will reduce such bitterness.

o   i.e. treat others well and with kindness

·        逆心第七 - 尊者人的也
Rebellion - The Respected are the targets. Watch out. Big rewards attract rebellion; Limit & divide authority; disagreement could mean loyalty; don't go by words or skills to discern; gain support and love.

o   利厚生逆,善者亦为也。Big rewards give birth to rebellion. Even the good people do likewise. i.e. rewards increase the greed; don't just use money, use others too.

o   势大起异,慎者亦趋焉。Great authority creates division, even the prudent do likewise. i.e. limit authority; divide authority.

o   主暴而臣诤,逆之为忠。The king is brutal but the officials' warnings are not rebellion but loyalty. i.e. appreciate the staff who disagree.

o   主昏而臣媚,顺之为逆。The king is a blur but the officials praise. Following them is actually rebellion. i.e. don't be a Yes-man.

o   忠奸莫以言辩,善恶无以智分。Loyalty cannot be discerned by words. Right or wrong cannot be divided by brilliance. i.e. go by deeds, not words nor capability,

o   谋逆先谋信也,信成则逆就。Planning a rebellion begins with gaining trust first. With trust, rebellion can succeed. i.e. trust but set up a system or procedure to monitor

o   制逆先制心也,心服则逆止。To stop rebellion first manage the heart. When the heart is gained then rebellion stops.

o   主明奸匿,上莫怠焉。When the king is discerning then villains hide. The top cannot be lazy. i.e. be on the alert all the time.

o   成不足喜,尊者人的也。Success is not to be happy about because the higher one goes the more is one the target of others.

o   败不足虞,庸者人恕耳。Failure is no reason for worry because people sympathize with the average person. i.e. failure is not shameful but a learning lesson.

·        夺心第八 - 众心异,王者一
Gain the heart - People have different intentions, the leader unites all. Create awe & love. Be discerning of gentleman and villains; address the psychological harms.

o   众心异,王者一。People's hearts are different so the King must unite them. i.e. leaders must unite their followers

o   慑其魄,神鬼服。Destroy his morale or will and he will submit.

o   君子难不丧志,释其难改之。Gentleman does not give up because of difficulty. Getting help to overcome them will leads to success.

o   小人贵则气盛,举其污泄之。Villain when promoted will be boastful and abusive, reporting his abuses will deflate him.

o   穷堪固守,凶危不待也。Poor is still bearable but when danger and disaster strike, one will not be able to keep one's character.

o   察伪言真,恶不敢为。Discover the lies and speak the truth, then the evil person will not dare to act. i.e. Learn to discern the truth.

o   神褫之伤,愈明愈痛。Psychological harms for the wise will be more painful. 

o   苛法无功,情柔堪毕焉。Severe punishments work not. Soft and emotional love may solve it.

o   治人者必人治也,治非善哉。Punishing others will result in others punishing us. Punishing is not the best method.

o   屈人者亦人屈也,屈弗耻矣。Giving in to others will also have others giving in to them. Giving in is not shameful.

·        警心第九 - 变不可测
Alertness - Changes of hearts are unpredictable; knowing hearts bring success; watch the warning signs; fix them early. watch out for lies, discern the intentions.

o   知世而后存焉。Know your society then you may survive. i.e. we must adapt to our environment.

o   识人而后幸焉。Knowing the people first will bring success later. i.e. know who to partner with and know how to match jobs to their talents.

o   天警人者,示以灾也。Natural disasters are warnings from God.

o   神警人者,示以祸也。God uses troubles to warn people.

o   人警人者,示以怨也。People use hatred to warn others.

o   畏惩勿诫,语不足矣。Do not refrain from punishments from those who fear because words alone are not enough to change them.

o   有悔莫罚,责于心乎。A repentant needs not be punished. His conscience will bother him.

o   势强自威,人弱自惭耳。The powerful automatically create awe. The weak automatically look down on themselves.

o   变不可测,小戒大安也。Change cannot be predicted hence control of the little will brings great security. i.e. fix small defects before they become big issues.

o   意可曲之,言虚实利也。Intentions could be distorted, lies are made to gain benefits. i.e. watch out for lies, discover the true intentions.

·        诛心第十 - 诛心者生
Killing Hearts - Transform Desires. Know their thoughts, desires, feelings; Skip their strengths and attack their weaknesses; make predictions to direct. Watch out for rumors and name-calling.

o   诛人者死,诛心者生。Killing a man results in death. Killing the heart brings forth life. i.e. it is not illegal to kill the heart! Better is to transform the heart from bad to good, saving his life.

o   徵国易,徵心难焉。Easy to conquer a country; difficult to conquer a human heart.

o   不知其思,无以讨之。Not knowing his thoughts is not possible to attack him. i.e. know their thinking first before any strategizing and attack.

o   不知其情,无以降之。Not knowing their information & situation, no way to get them to surrender.

o   其欲弗逞,其人殆矣。People with their desires not satisfied are very dangerous.

o   敌强不可言强,避其强也。In front of a powerful enemy, one cannot speak strongly; bypass his strengths. i.e. find his weaknesses first.

o   敌弱不可言弱,攻其弱也。Facing a weak opponent, don't speak softly. Attack his weaknesses. i.e. don't underestimate him.

o   不吝虚位,人自拘也。Be generous in giving empty titles and they will be trapped. i.e. big title without limited authority keep staff happy and minimize harm.

o   行伪于谶,谋大有名焉。Make unproven predictions to give a great plan the proper basis/reason.

o   指忠为奸,害人无忌哉。Accuse the loyal ones as evil and then they can be freely harmed. i.e. watch out for the rumors and name-calling.

Lim Liat (c) 29 May 2021


16 May 2021

Do the Values of the Young People Differ from Races and Times?

Looking at two recent articles talking about the values and desires of the young people, one from the Chinese and one from the West, and comparing them with the ancient young people of about 2000 years ago in China, the answers are strangely similar. The values of the young have not changed neither in time nor in races. They are the values of the young. 

Recently I read in the Chinese Newspaper about the desires of the young people in China.
Source: https://beltandroad.zaobao.com/beltandroad/news/story20210505-1140789


They said they don't want to be a person carrying a saw to saw people into two halves; don't go by right or wrong but by win or lose. They don't want to be the products of following the currents; not having an independent character or identity just people or not people; dislike those that are better than them while looking down on those who are not as good as them; criticizing others success and laughing at those who failed; without compassion, and with loyalty. They do not want to be unpatriotic etc.

The young people of China seek:

  • no division of people --- want harmony and unity
  • righteousness or justice
  • freedom from being forced by the currents
  • an independent identity or character - be their unique self.
  • respecting others and not despising others.
  • compassion
  • loyalty or faithfulness
  • love their country
In an interview between Carey Nieuwh of Canada, and Tim Keller, a famous American preacher and philosopher, Tim spoke about reaching out to the young generation...

source: https://careynieuwhof.com/episode339/

Carey Nieuwhof: What would you say to those kids?

Tim Keller: Well, I think, I would say that Christianity's better resources for what they're trying to do. You're looking for freedom, you're looking for meaning, you're looking for satisfaction, you're looking for identity, you're looking for a basis for doing justice. You want a basis for doing justice that doesn't turn you into an oppressor yourself? Do you want to have an identity that's not performative, that is not exclusive? I said, "I got better resources for you."

Tim Keller: Right, identity, freedom, meaning, satisfaction, justice.

For the thinking and desires of the ancient young, I shall refer to the work of a famous Chinese Historian and Professor Yi Zhong Tian 易中天. He said that during the period of 魏晋南北朝 The Turbulent Periods around The time of the 3 Kingdoms, the young people then have the following:

A. Values:

        1 Yearning for freedom 向往自由
            Freedom from war, oppression, famines ... freedom to do my things (see point 4).

        2 Desire for Authenticity (True Feelings) 渴望真情
            Freed from the hypocrisy and phoniness. Take off our masks and be our true selves.

        3 Contempt for Secular 蔑视世俗
            Free from the superficial and complex customs and rules; forms without meaning and true content.

        4 Following Your Heart (True Inner-self) 服从内心
            Expressing the real you and doing what you feel. Don't care about what they think or say. Don't be a hypocrite.

        5 Love of Nature 热爱自然
            Freed from the darkness of the society to the nature of truthfulness, naturalness, and freedom.
B. Admired Behavior:

        1 authentic expression of true feelings - being your true self, is better than
        2 high intelligence
        3 great beauty or style.


The values of the modern young Chinese and Americans are very similar and are in fact best captured in Professor Yi's summary of the values and admired behavior of the Chinese people living about 2000 years ago. It shows that young men are all alike, irrespective of the races and even across times of thousands of years. Let's stop dividing people, by race, social standing, or nationality, or religion, or whatever. Let me quote from Confucius, 四海之内皆兄弟 within the four seas, all men are brothers. Let help build a more peaceful world. In this challenging time of the pandemic, let's remember that human beings are all in the same boat and so must work together to fight this external enemy that seeks to destroy human lives.

Lim Liat (c) 16 May 2021

10 May 2021

3G(Generosity,Gratitude,Guts) Attitudes to Achieve 3G(Glory, Gold, Gladness) Desires

Our desires, 3-G of Glory, Gold, Gladness(pleasures, happiness) could not be satisfied by pursuing them, but rather through the 3-G of Gratitude, Generosity & Guts.
  • The Paradox of Glory
    • Matthew 23:11 The greatest among you will be your servant.
      • 孟子 Mencius :仁者无敌 Love is undefeatable or Love has no enemy.
        • Luke 6:35a But love your enemies, do good to them. i.e. Love has no enemy. It makes enemy to become friends
        • The Paradox of Money
          • Proverbs 23:5 Amplified Bible When you set your eyes on wealth, it is [suddenly] gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies to the heavens.
            • The essence of entrepreneurship is making meaning, not money. Make Meaning Money. Make Money No meaning No money by Guy Kawasaki
            • The paradox of happiness
              • the more you chase it the more elusive it becomes. Happiness comes from pursuing something beyond us, like, helping, giving, or simply wishing people well!
                • Definition of generous:
                  • 1 freely giving or sharing money and other valuable things.
                    • 2: providing more than the amount that is needed or normal
                      • 3: abundant or ample.
                        • 4: showing kindness and concern for others.
                          • e.g. God is generous: Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us
                          • For me, it will be giving without expecting any returns. It is freely giving, as in 1 above.

                            • It is Not Obligation
                              • The Malachi teaching on giving starts with an obligation.
                                • Malachi 3:10, NIV: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."
                                  • An obligation is giving what you must or owed to God.
                                    • "Give to Get Blessings" turns giving into investment. I give to get back more. It is a business transaction, developing into a business relationship of repaying one another. That is NOT generosity.

                                    • Generosity is giving without expectation.
                                      • Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
                                        • Why then giving loans is generous.
                                          • Because it is not expecting the poor to pay back. The Lord is doing the paying back. Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. The loan is just to save the face of the person receiving the loan. One day he will pay back when he can.
                                        • How then, can we become generous?
                                          • The secret is in Gratitude.
                                        • Definition Of
                                          • : a feeling of appreciation or thanks
                                          • Comes From:
                                            • Luke 7:47 ►Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little."
                                              • Her gratitude enables her to give much to Jesus.
                                                • Gratitude is a response to others goodness to us.
                                                  • To increase gratitude, we must have the guts to do good to others and spread gratitude.
                                                  • Degree of:
                                                    • So, we need to understand how much forgiveness and blessings have we received from the Lord, to taste the His love, then we develop gratitude, and then we develop generosity, and then gladness, gold, and glory.
                                                    • Learner's definition of GRATITUDE
                                                      • guts. [plural] (informal) the courage and strength of mind that it takes to do something difficult or unpleasant.
                                                      • For Me:
                                                        • Guts are not just bravery but daring to do:
                                                          • after minimizing the risks &
                                                            • for a worthy reason.
                                                            • Otherwise, it is just recklessness and even leading to cruelty
                                                              • It is the ability to face the disappointments, the struggles, and to see a blessing or purpose within, and then boldly work out and walk through the difficulty victoriously.
                                                                • Chinese has a combinational concept, 胆识, Guts, and Understanding.
                                                                • 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. 

                                                                  But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

                                                                Here is a mind-map:
                                                                Lim Liat (c) 10-May-2021