(Part of the series on Sun Tzu's ; The Art of War – from the SEO perspective.)
Sun Tzu said;
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 soldier's 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.
As to, can the SEO leader. You cannot direct your troops,(staff, contractors etc..) from afar. But also none too close. Do not get so distracted or comfortable as to lose touch with them. Building trust and confidence ultimately boosts team morale.
(1) We must be aware of the limitations or advantages in all situations and direct the warriors in a conducive manner. Be fluid and adaptable. Avoid asking them to do what cannot be done.
(2) Do not manage your personnel with the same levity as a client. To be a leader you must lead and hold other to the same accountability.
(3) Know your troops and assign rank (positions and roles) appropriately. Always have the right people doing the right tasks. Also acquire team leaders that are quick on their feet, ready to adapt. This builds confidence from those around them.
Sun Tzu said;
But when the army is restless and distrustful, trouble is sure to come from the other feudal princes. This is simply bringing anarchy into the army, and flinging victory away.
If we heed the first part above, we must consider the failure to heed the advice. We will break team morale and ultimately others will believe 'their way' to be better. As the cohesive program strategy breaks down from the inside, surely the game is lost.
You will never be truly successful when internal strife prevails.
(tune in Wednesday for the next edition)