Vijay Ramachandran is the Editor-in-Chief of IDG Media.
Stay focused on goals, delegate to capable people, keep your directions simple and clear, reach out and build bridges with people and take the lead in everything.
“Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win.” —Zhuge Liang (208 A.D)
Wisdom knows no limitations, specially not those of time. I’ve reflected upon this many times recently while re-reading a translation of a Chinese epic. The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a 14th century historical novel, which deals with China of the first and second century A.D. Much like the Mahabharata, this epic too is a complex tale with many sub-plots.
One of my favorite sections deals with the Battle of the Red Cliffs and the role played by Zhuge Liang, a key military and political strategist (both historical and fictional).
Through determined effort and the able handling of people, Liang was able to help defeat an army four times bigger at the Red Cliffs. I’ve found valuable lessons in this for everyone—me and you included.
His first precept is to employ capable people, assign them tasks they are best suited to, and then evaluate them without allowing personal prejudice to get in the way. He next focuses on uniting the hearts of his troops before entering a battle.
While Liang is all for gathering intelligence and putting a value on information, he puts equal emphasis on ensuring that his troops are aware of his aims and that his instructions are clear and easy to understand.
Interestingly, one of his recommended strategies is to reach out to as many people as possible and avoid making unnecessary enemies.
Liang’s other diktat, that can make a significant difference to anyone’s efforts, is to take full responsibility for all endeavors.
Over the distance of the centuries, the veracity of Liang’s advice calls out to us: Stay focused on goals, delegate to capable people, keep your directions simple and clear, reach out and build bridges with people and take the lead in everything.
Do you think Zhuge Liang’s strategy will work for you? Write in and let me know.