Productivity and “The Art of War”: Applying Sun Tzu’s Teachings to Business
Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” has stood the test of time as a guide for military tactics and strategy. However, its teachings are not limited to the battlefield. In fact, many of Sun Tzu’s principles can be applied to modern-day productivity in the workplace. Here are some key takeaways:
1. Personal Accountability
According to Sun Tzu, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame. Similarly, if you communicate ineffectively, any resulting problems are your fault. The lesson here is to ensure that your communication is clear and distinct in every email and conversation.
2. Keeping Your Cool
In the midst of a crisis, it’s easy to lose your cool. However, Sun Tzu advises us to remain disciplined and calm. If you can keep your wits about you, you’ll be better equipped to handle the situation and maintain your productivity.
3. Be Prepared
Sun Tzu believed that the art of war teaches us to rely on our own readiness, rather than the likelihood of the enemy not attacking. This lesson applies to productivity as well. It’s essential to be fully prepared for any possible complications that could arise, in order to avoid being caught off guard.
4. Do Work to Get Work
Opportunities multiply as they are seized. Sun Tzu’s advice is to always volunteer and gain as much experience as possible. This will not only improve your resume but also increase the quality of your contacts.
5. Grow Your Social Network
Sun Tzu believed that tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat, and strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. In modern times, this translates to staying in touch with colleagues and bosses and having a plan for how to leverage those connections. This way, you’ll have a solid network to rely on when you need it.
6. Be Selfless
According to Sun Tzu, the general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace is the jewel of the kingdom. In the workplace, being a selfless team player is essential. Doing what is best for the company will ultimately be best for you too.
7. Play to Your Strengths
Sun Tzu advises us to know ourselves and our enemies to avoid imperilment in battles. In the workplace, this means playing to your personal strengths and understanding any potential issues that could cause a decline in productivity. Always stay up to date on industry trends and continue to hone your skills.
In conclusion, Sun Tzu’s teachings can provide valuable insights into productivity in the workplace. These principles of Personal Accountability, Keeping Your Cool, Being Prepared, Doing Work to Get Work, Growing Your Social Network, Being Selfless, and Playing to Your Strengths are timeless and can help anyone achieve greater success in business.