Leadership Values That Guide Business Strategy: Do You Practise the Way of War?
Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War over 2000 years ago. In recent times his text has been used as guide for developing business strategy. If we accept the premise that business is a form of warfare then what leadership values or qualities make a good General, or leader of people?
Again using Asian warfare texts as a metaphor, my Judo background points me towards the concept of Budo, Japanese for the Way of War. Budo represents a system of values that reached its zenith 200 years ago and codified the disciplines and values that Samurai aspired to. Budo approximates the supposed values of chivalry developed for medieval knights in Europe.
Like Sun Tzu’s text can guide business strategy, so too can Budo be used to guide the development of modern business leaders’ core values. Budo’s values are as follows;
- Gi (Rectitude): The state or quality of having a constant direction and not being crooked or bent. A good synonym would be integrity. A leader does what they say they will do.
- Yu (Courage): It can be tough being a leader. You can’t please everyone. If you have rectitude, you will also need the courage to do what you say, even if some of your team does not like it.
- Jin (Benevolence): The willingness to do good. Sometime you have to be tough to be kind, and that takes courage.
- Rei (Respect): Respect for all as human beings, respect for the environment, competitors, colleagues and suppliers. They all have their place and value. If one is maligned then it’s likely that your moral compass may be misaligned.
- Makoto (Honesty): Speaks for itself.
- Meiyo (Honour): Doing the right thing by others…clearly closely linked to Makoto, Gi, Jin and Rei.
- Chugi (Loyalty): Loyalty to one’s colleagues, peers, superiors, organisation and Country. Team comes first.
Modern Judo, although now a sport, has its core values rooted in ancient Japanese Budo. Those Judoka (Judo practitioners) who embrace Budo have a set of guiding values that will serve them well in life, not just in the dojo. Jigaro Kano, the founder of modern Judo, in fact saw Judo as a way of life, not a sport at all.
These are tested values for leaders that were first codified hundreds of years ago. They are still as relevant today as they were then. As a leader in your business, do you practise the Way of War?
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