11.36

Chapter: The Nine Situations 11.36
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Translation:

He must be able to mystify his officers and men by false reports and appearances, and thus keep them in total ignorance.

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Commentary

A leader must communicate strongly to gain common purpose and coordinated action. But this does not mean laying bare all thoughts and intentions.

Tell people what they need to know and enough to keep them motivated and coordinated. But then cloak further intent.

People will naturally guess and will talk about their thoughts, which they will base on what you say and do. In this way, rumors will spread to enemy ears. When those rumors are wild and conflicting, the enemy will remain unsure and be unable to take positive action.

Likewise in business, people like to gossip and may be intrigued by ideas. Uncertainty hence also keeps people on their toes, alert and ready. It is better to conduct the gossip orchestra than be the victim of it.