Thursday, December 07, 2006
天地人:策略概念 / Strategic Thinking: Heaven Earth People
In Chinese history, Heaven, Earth and People represented and defined the concept of the world of the Middle Kingdom, from the Emperor down to the ordinary peasants. Having heard my explanation of this feudal system concept, my Canadian born colleagues found the idea intriguing and suggested that the western society could borrow and apply this Heaven-Earth-People model to basic business management. Of course, they are not referring to the blind superstition of worshipping heaven and earth, but rather to the systematic approach to business strategy: the right time, the right place, and the right people. This is not really the first time that my colleagues learnt about and appreciated Chinese strategic thinking. I mean, if you go to the local bookstore and look under Business Management for, say, Sun Zi's "Art of War", you will probably find a dozen translated versions by different authours, who all attempt to dissect, analyze and apply the twenty-five thousand years old manuscript to modern use. However, out of the million of readers who read great classics such as the Art of War, Dream of the Red Chamber, the Floating World of Flowers and Mirrors, and secret manuscripts on martial art and Zen, there are only a hand-full of people who really appreciate the true meanings of these writings. As Sun Zi said circa 512 BC: "There are only five basic tones, but the variation of the five makes great music; there are only five basic colours, but the variation of the five makes great paintings." His point was that with the same five tones and colours, ordinary folks could only make lousy music and pictures and yet these same elements would create masterpieces in the hands of genius. Colleagues and friends here and abroad, I will conclude by saying that learning is a life-long journey and that we should strive to explore, learn and appreciate the richness of the thousands of years of history and culture.