B Cool – “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

A lot has been written on the Chinese economic challenge and fears about its impact on the global economy; so in this context, we can learn a lot from one of the world’s greatest philosophers, Sun Tsu and a very famous anecdote from Chinese History: The Empty Fort Strategy.

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Imagine yourself the general of a small army living in China a thousand years ago with around 2500 soldiers under your command. You’re working on repairing a small broken fort when a massive enemy army of 150,000 soldiers shows up on the horizon. You realise in horror that a few days ago you sent out all your subordinate officers on an errand and many of your 2500 soldiers are civilians, sick or wounded, and they’re starting to panic at the sight of such a massive enemy army on the horizon. The odds are hopeless and you have no time to organise a retreat. What do you do?

According to legend, the General (Zhuge Liang) ordered the gates to be opened, the flags and banners removed and ordered his soldiers to hide; apart from a handful who were ordered to wear civilian clothes and sweep the streets. The General then sat on the wall of the fort with his two children, watching the massive army approach. He began calmly playing a musical instrument. The enemy General (Sima Yi) surveyed the scene. He knew that his opponent was an extremely prudent military tactician who rarely took risks. He saw the General nonchalantly plucking at his instrument, the peasants sweeping the streets and the gates wide open. The enemy General assumed the Fort was deliberately left open as a trap and ordered the enemy army of 150,000 to retreat.

One very cool head in a crisis won out against impossible odds.

As we face big challenges in business, wouldn’t it be nice to have cool heads in your team?

Appear Strong where you are weak. If your business could use a few more cool heads, contact the B Series to discuss your options.