Breaking Teams

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January 31, 2014

Sun TzuTeams, like an army in the wars, are crucial for the project’s success. In fact teams are the back bone of today’s organizations. Sun Tzu has emphasized on keeping the moral of the army  higher to ensure victory in a war. Same is needed in the organizations to achieve incredible results in projects and strategic initiatives.

About the teams, in The Art of War, Sun Tzu says:
There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army:

  • By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey. This is called hobbling the army.
  • By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army. This causes restlessness in the soldiers’ minds.
  • By employing the officers of his army without discrimination, through ignorance of the military principle of adaptation to circumstances. This shakes the confidence of the soldiers.

In the project management world it is a recipe to break the team and invite project failure directly. A project manager hears,

  • Do not assign tasks that can not be completed by the project team. This will cause them to disobey you and eventually, when the tasks are assigned irresponsibly, disobeying the project manager becomes a habit, consequently leads to project being off track.
  • Do not try to manage the team without empathetic attitude. An effort to manage people with ignorance about their work conditions, situations and dependencies, leads to a feeling of resentment.
  • Do not assign tasks based on personal choices. The tasks must be assigned based on the available skills and the problem at hand. The team’s confidence in the leadership of the project and the organization weakens to a great degree when such decisions are taken without any sense of right or wrong.

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