“watch therefore and strive to catch a sight of her, and if you see her first, let me know.” Plato
“Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise:”
“(1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law?”
“(2) Which of the two generals has most ability?”
“(3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?”
“(4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?”
“(5) Which army is stronger?”
“(6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained?”
“(7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?”
“By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat. 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!” Sun Tzu
“The MORAL LAW causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.”
What Sun Tzu calls moral law, is what we refer to these days as shared vision. Visionary leadership is required at all levels, individual, family and community levels. This is true also for corporate organizations as well as countries or global organizations. A leader without vision can be likened to a person walking in the dark and trying to lead others, the end result is obvious. There are leaders who do have a vision, but are unable to effectively share this vision with others, and in this case, the results will vary depending on several factors but victory will not be swift and never complete. Remember we have agreed that protracted battles are too costly.
Leaders with vision will do well for themselves and for the world if they ensure those within their span of control share their vision. That makes all the difference. It takes different strategies to achieve this, and Machiavelli describes them very well in The Prince; however applying these in real life requires wisdom. While a leader must enforce discipline, he must avoid being perceived as cruel. Will he rely on extraordinary abilities and charisma or fortune? While a leader should endeavor to be loved, s/he must avoid being seen as too soft. Machiavelli thinks overall it’s better to be feared than to be loved. That decision will be left to each leader according to his or her circumstance and preferred method, but no matter the preferred approach of a leader, it must be very decisive. Only with this will the other 6 considerations matter.
The Amateur Philosopher
The Art of War