11.56

Chapter: The Nine Situations 11.56
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Translation:

Bestow rewards without regard to rule, issue orders without regard to previous arrangements; and you will be able to handle a whole army as though you had to do with but a single man.

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Commentary

If you give rewards where they are expected, you just create a sense of entitlement. When you give rewards where they are not expected, you create surprise and delight. You also underline your absolute authority.

Changing your mind is the officer’s prerogative. It can be dangerous to think that once you have issued an order that it cannot be countermanded. Changing even for its own sake can also be used to keep the army on its toes.

When everyone is now waiting on your next uncertain action, you have attention. When they know reward can easily be given, they wait in hope.