26. Now the general who wins a battle makes many
calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.
Ouch! I can have a tendency to come up with a good plan and rush ahead with it, hoping all the details will just fall into place.
Sun Tzu warns against this when he tells us to make many plans ahead of time. Apparently, the temple of Sun Tzu’s day was a quiet place of reflection. A real temple was actually set aside for the general. The general would be given the use of the temple for planning and important meetings.
I suppose in my own context, that’s a bit like the pastor’s study. Sun Tzu tells me to spend time in there making plans, expecting contingencies and planning on how to defeat the enemy.
I am called to do battle against an unseen enemy. Sun Tzu encourages me to plan ahead – carefully – about how to defeat that enemy. I think there is something very valid in that which I can learn from.
I am finally after many years of thinking “I really ought to,” reading the art of war. I think there is actually a lot to learn from this for any leader. And I thought blogging through some of the main points might be helpful. Maybe it will be useful for someone else too.
The first thing I highlighted was:
15. The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: —let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat: —let such a one be dismissed!
this made me think of this simple thought: be a leader worth following.
Sun Tzu encourages military leaders to be wise enough to learn and grow.
It is tempting to think you have it all figured out, or at least to want to project that image. But the reality is, none of us have it all together. we need to be willing to learn something, and that usually begins with an admission that we have something to learn.
A good leader is one who recognizes that they have something to learn and never stops growing. listen to counsel and always be growing, or as Sun Tzu says – be dismissed.