Dear HR , Training and Learning & Development Heads,
In my previous article I wrote about HR surviving in times of Crisis. Today, I wish to share with you on applying Sun Tzu Principles of how he optimized his people during the war times.
Look into your own backyard first
“In war, the general first receives his commands from the ruler. He then assembles his troops and blends them into a harmonious entity before pitching camp.” And goes on to say: “He selects his men according to their talents and uses them to exploit the situation.” Unfortunately, many HRs do not appreciate what they have got. They tend to look outside for solutions could probably be found from the employees who should know best.
Internal Harmony is Essential
When consulting your people, make sure that you solicit the views of as many people as possible and are open to them. Being open does not mean you have to listen and act on everything to please everybody.
“If a general prepares to defend everywhere, he will be weak everywhere.” Being open simply means the willingness to listen and consider. “I am always ready to listen, as much as possible but finally, I believe it is my responsibility to think over all that I have heard before deciding on the next course of action.”
Many organizations whose HRs place too much trust in the counsel of one or few of their executives.
“Without harmony in the State, no military expedition can be made; without harmony in the army, no battle formation can be directed.”
As things deteriorate from bad to worse, the desperate CEO would usually seek outside help. Hence, why not take early preventive measures by listening more to your people through exploring initiatives like soliciting employees’ ideas or comments. By adopting an ‘ open-door’ policy, organizing quality control circles, making oneself available through ‘management-by-walking-about’ policy or holding ‘meet-the-employees sessions such as tea parties, etc.
Steer Clear of a ‘Yes-man’ culture
Many bosses tend to prefer ‘yes-man’. This could be due to either insecurity on the part of the bosses or could not bear any challenge to their inflated ego. Sun Tzu has suggested that:
“If the situation offers victory but the ruler forbids fighting, the general may still fight. If the situation is such that he cannot win, then the general must stay his hand even if the ruler orders him to fight.”
Wise HR’s, if they follow Sun Tzu’s teaching, will indeed realize what a gem they have in an objective manager because the grand strategist has said:
“Thus, the general who advances without coveting fame and without fearing disgrace, but whose sole intention is to protect the people and serve his ruler, is the precious jewel of the State.”
If they praise your action, they are not worth having as your staff. If they seek to correct you, retain their services for they make invaluable assistants.”
Ensure the Equity of rewards
All too often, when new people are brought into the organization, a CEO risks losing the long-serving incumbent staff or the development of hostility between the old and the new.
“Make use of the advantage of the ground to bring out the best of both strong and weak soldiers. A wise general thus leads the entire army like he is leading one person.”
“A wise general considers both the advantages and disadvantages opened to him. When considering the advantages, he makes his plans feasible; when considering the disadvantages, he finds ways to extricate himself from the difficulties.” Hence, disharmony is to be avoided, especially in times of crisis, since it can result in the loss of good people whom you cannot do without.
Until our next learning, lets OPTIMIZE whom we got today.
Quote for y2016 Nov:
Don’t let disappointments chase you away, do the RIGHT THING ALWAYS.