Wu’s Warriors – Waging War Against the Odds

Brutal competition, barbaric bloody battles for market share, an under-staffed and ill-prepared team, limited resources, challenged margins

They all add up to agony, gloom, and despair. But it doesn’t end there.

All Roads Lead to…

In this case, all roads lead to Fatality! Both in terms of attitude, and in terms of an organization. Sound familiar?  Many businesses and leaders find themselves precisely in this tenuous and seemingly indefensible position, especially right now.

And it seems inescapable.

The good news is, you can achieve victory where others will most assuredly fail.

Ask yourself:

  • What compelling reason do you have to continue the fight?
  • How do you determine your most precious resources and protect them?
  • Where can you find strategies to thrive, let alone survive, while operating within this toxic economy?

Wu, War, and You

Enter the ancient Chinese State of Wu, the Art of War, and you.

True, this ancient strategist expounded on military tactics.  However, his writings include many principles that anyone calling themselves a ‘Leader’ would be wise to learn and apply in their daily behaviors.

A Little Background

Wu’s neighbor and frequent opponent was the larger State of Ch’u.  To give up in the face of adversity would have meant submitting themselves to the brutality of Ch’u, and its oppressive methods.

So, why continue the fight?

  • Would you so easily forfeit autonomy and creative license, only to be assimilated?
  • Your diversity and flexibility are strengths, why not leverage them?
  • You can creatively develop new tactics to inspire loyalty – and victory – over competitors.

How did Wu develop the resources needed to succeed against their enemies?  Ch’u’s brutal tactics were widely experienced among the smaller surrounding states.  So, Wu tapped in a plethora of ready, willing, and able human resources against a common enemy. And he found these in nearby allies.

These allies provided invaluable local guidance, direction, and intelligence.   In contrast to Ch’u’s harsh methods, Wu’s leaders nurtured and cultivated their warriors and people.  This was no weak, marshmallow-y leadership. Their Leadership methods enabled and energized their troops, by providing and training in what was needed to be victorious on the battlefield.


Your most valuable resources

What are they?

  • Your most valuable resources are not your product, your materials, your financing, or your location.
  • Your most valuable resources are your people – trained, energized, motivated into productivity.
  • Hired and retained people whom your customers will trust, who are qualified, and who enhance your strategic stance and environment.

Guiding Principals, Changing Strategies

Principles are eternal, but strategies and tactics must be fluid according to each current situation.  Don’t apply the ‘one size fits all’ philosophy across your various strategies. For example, across your professional and personnel development, change competency, business planning, issue resolution, and customer relationship management strategies.

Leaders must quickly respond to obstacles as they arise, and stimulate the development of strategic diversity. Perhaps more importantly, train your future leaders to proceed according to the situation and environment.  When you provide tailored, ongoing training for your team, they will interpret it as an investment in their future. As a result, you will build loyalty.

In doing so, you will also grow Leaders, and cause your methods to survive and thrive in a sustainable manner.

It’s Up To You

“Thus it may be known that the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people’s fate, the one on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril.”

Continue the fight and protect your most valuable resources – Your People! Wu’s warriors are a classic, timeless example of this kind of true Leadership in action.

  • Is your team following you because they have to, or because they WANT to?
  • Are you the type of Leader that Wu’s Warriors would have followed in the face of adversity and against seemingly insurmountable odds?
  • Are you displaying Leadership qualities that truly inspire your team and their productivity?

Jim Janco is a Leadership Strategist, Professional Trainer, and Consultant at The Encompass Group
He can be reached at encompassgroup@comcast.net and (303) 618-0423

Edited by Mike Weppler

Image Sources: i78.photobucket.com, inspirationfalls.com, shine-x.com

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