11.38

Chapter: The Nine Situations 11.38
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Translation:

At the critical moment, the leader of an army acts like one who has climbed up a height and then kicks away the ladder behind him. He carries his men deep into hostile territory before he shows his hand.

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Commentary

Climbing heights and kicking away the ladder means removing the means of retreat. Likewise, when you are deep in enemy territory, desertion is not a wise option.

There is the right time to show there is no way back, for it may be useful to let troops think this if it keeps them comfortable. But when a battle is to begin, all thought of retreat or desertion must be removed from their minds.

In business, full personal commitment of everyone in the company makes a huge difference as compared with risk-averse cultures and where people have one eye on the door.