Chapter: Attack by Stratagem



(2) By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army. This causes restlessness in the soldier’s minds.


Citizens in the country have rights and freedoms and so must be persuaded and cajoled. Armies are regimented and commanded organizations for a good reason. If you ask a soldier if he would like to advance, the result is confusion. Orders to advance should be obeyed without question or delay.

As Chang Yu noted, humanity and justice are the principles on which to govern a state. For an army, opportunism and flexibility are key virtues.

In business, sales people are often quite a different breed to those back in headquarters. Tasked with selling or being sacked, they easily see corporate politeness and politics as laughable.