The Predestined Outcome

For this deliberation
For the making of comparisons,
And the assessing of conditions,

Which ruler
Has the Way?

Which general
Has the ability?

Which side has
Heaven and Earth?

On which side
Is discipline
More effective?

Which army
Is the stronger?

Whose officers and men
Are better trained?

In which army
Are rewards and punishments

From these
Can be known
Victory and defeat.

Heed my plan,
Employ me,
And victory is surely yours;
I will stay.

Do not heed my plan,
And even if you did employ me,
You would surely be defeated;
I will depart.

In this segment of text from The Art of War, Sun-Tzu is speaking as a strategist, marketing himself to a person who wants to wage war.

He is stepping through the Five Fundamentals once more before he moves on, asking the warmonger to believe the wisdom and reality that cold calculation and analysis can determine the outcome before the gauntlet is thrown.

In my opinion, Master Sun understands the fundamental hubris of moguls and the ease with which those in power slip into a pattern of presumed infallibility. He is stating for the last time that acting on this unwise conviction – absent the calculation and analysis – can lead to a conflict in which a negative outcome was predestined.

If you don’t follow my plan, I won’t stay with you through certain failure.

It may be even more difficult for the Cube Dweller than the leader to analyze his beef and his situation with objectivity, especially those climbing the career ladder. So much more, relatively speaking, is at stake and there is such egotistic and emotional investment by CD. Yet this goal at stake is exactly why the scenario must be documented and flowcharted and sliced and diced and analyzed to the nth degree with total honesty and open-mindedness.

And You should only move forward if analysis proves beyond doubt You have the conflict sewed up.

Next time, Sun-tzu moves deeper into the Plan.

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