Apr 24, 2010

The Art of War on Leadership

A few books can create the lasting impact like Sun Tzu’s The Art of War have created for centuries. Not only has it transcend languages and times, but it has also transcend in meaning – as even though its main focus is to describe the implications of war, its concepts are applied to business and personal lives.

The first theme discussed by Sun Tzu is that of “laying plans.” This is a pretty self-descriptive theme as the concept is used constantly in the business world. In order to reach goals, a plan must be put together and followed thru. Without a strategic plan, the best leaders or the best employees couldn’t work together towards a common goal. Just like war, the more people involved the more planning needs to happen. Szun Tzu, specifically, describes “laying plans” as the mixture of five interdisciplinary elements or “factors,” like Tzu calls them, which define one’s competitive position and how to use our own strengths to “fight” the competition. He calls them: “(1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and Discipline” (p. 2). I believe that these “factors” describe the collective mission undertaken by a group of people, the military or a team, the leadership skills necessary to keep them focused, as well as the methods applied in order to win the competition.

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