Sun Tzu’s philosophy was to avoid conflict if possible. He recognised the waste of resources and the cost of the risk that aggression creates. Many modern managers think that he was all about fighting, but his philosophy was much ore about fighting without fighting, as Bruce Lee said, and if you have to fight, do so with the least cost and greatest chance of victory. Sound like common sense, right? Yet business culture has yet to understand the logic.
Deepak Chopra presents the philosophy with a more spiritual perspective in The Law of Least Action. The insight shared is that universal laws of nature underpin the behaviour of everything from atoms to planets, and even humans in between. While the busy manager or professional might have been taught a military discipline of focussing on objectives, following procedures and getting things done, the reality is that pushing against the universe results in wasted efforts and, often, failure. That is not to say, “Sit on your hands”, but rather to be aware of situational dynamics that are signals to alter strategy or tactics.
Read Chopra’s article for the scientific logic. Here are his tips for implementing it.
Tips for promoting least action:
- Get enough sleep.
- Promote an open environment for the exchange of ideas
- Allow free communication at every level of work and management
- Support the whole group emotionally
- Ask for honest feedback
- Make every worker feel valued
Tips for getting out of the way:
- Stop using undue pressure
- Don’t promote stress as an incentive
- Don’t use intimidation
- Don’t isolate management from workers
- Let go of old, familiar ways of doing things