Nov 11, 2009

The King Fisher Part VI - Fishing for Talent

“He who finds himself teachers, will rule the greatest area;
He who says no one is his equal, will fall.
He who is willing to ask, becomes greater;
He who relies entirely on himself, will be humbled and made small.”

- Tao Te Ching -   

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Been a bit overdue, this series on the King Fisher, nevertheless, for those who seek to acquire the wisdom of the ancient sages in political thoughts and strategies should not miss this writings as it can also be applied to the world of business, management and economics.


This is the works of the Grand Duke of Zhou or Jiang ZiYa and popularly known as Jiang Tai Kung, more than 3000 years ago that help to establish the Zhou Dynasty (1045 B.C.) and this writings have been simplified and condensed for easy reading and understanding.in this series. (For the First Time reader i suggest that you start with Part I HERE)

Part VI is still in volume one titled Civil Secret Teaching  out of  a total of six volumes of different titles as mentioned in earlier parts. The first part of the Civil Secret Teachings as covered under Part V deals with the underlying  foundation and philosophy of good governance and the correct thoughts to be cultivated by the rulers or the leaders.

And here the second part of the Civil Secret Teaching shares the philosophy of seeking out talents or as described in ancient times "True Men of Worth". Please read the proverb as from the Tao Te Ching as  stated above and to give yourself a moment to reflect and ponder on these ancient proverb, as it summaries the essence of this chapter. However the Grand Duke has describe in great detail the process and the ability to seek out and identify these talents.

It has been shown many a time the founding empires had many talents and expertise to tap on and in many a stories there will be the sage teacher or advisers or strategists that are found from amongst the common people. The search for talent has been of great emphasis of the many great empires in the history of China and even the Great Emperor Gaodi (Liu Bang), founder of the Han dynasty imposed a ruling that mandated that all court officials must present the talent that they happen to encounter and failing to do so will be in breach of the law.

And so wherein lies the “True Men of Worth” and as the Grand Duke has said they will arise and gather in times of injustice and turmoil and from here you might find your great warriors, generals, tacticians, planners, engineers and maybe a glimpse of the dragon if he appears and disappears and seen and not seen as the sage comes and goes quietly shrouded in mystery. A nation requires many talents in different skills and knowledge but the sage is universal and is multi talented and the most difficult to come across and if you happen to see him you might not be able to recognize him and as such he can only be found by those who seek.

A conversation between King Wen of the Zhou state and his teacher the Grand Duke as follows:

King Wen asked: "How does it happen that a ruler may exert himself to advance the Worthy but is unable to obtain any results from such efforts, and in fact the world grows increasingly turbulent, even to the point he is endangered and perishes?"

Grand Duke: "If one advances the Worthy but doesn't employ them, this is attaining the name of "advancing the Worthy" but lacking the substance of using the Worthy."

King Wen asked: "Whence comes the error?"

Grand Duke: "The error lies in wanting to employ men who are popularly praised rather than obtaining true Worthies."

King Wen: "How is that?"

Grand Duke: "If the ruler takes those that the world commonly praises as being Worthies and those that they condemn as being worthless, than the larger cliques will advance and the smaller ones will retreat. In this situation groups of evil individuals will associate together to obscure the Worthy. Loyal subordinates will die even though innocent. and perverse subordinates will obtain rank and position through empty fame. In this way, in this way as turbulence continues to grow in the world, the state cannot avoid danger and destruction."

This conversation shows that in seeking out talents, one must not fall for the reputation of fame and scholarly attainment which reminds me of the Prime Minister of Singapore than Mr Lee Kuan Yew who once remark that Singapore needs to seek out the "Mavericks" to help serve the nation rather than just employing people of high scholarly achievements. Academic achievements alone is not enough and could be an illusions as the real qualities of the talents are not just the papers that they carry.

It further states that recommendations from the officials or associates alone is not the best approach and one will need to seek out from the masses the "True Men of Worth". The true worthies are normally the reluctant politicians but will serve or assist in a sincere desire to see change and good governance.

The search for talent has been of great emphasis all throughout the dynasties of over 3000 years in the history of China and most will have heard of Liu Pei of the Three Kingdom era towards the end of the Han dynasty, where Liu Pei set out in search of Zhuge Liang, who than was a recluse dwelling high in the remote village of the hill of bamboo grove, as Liu Pei had to make numerous trip through the difficult passes all through the changing seasons before finally getting the assistance of the great strategist, Zhuge Liang aka Kung Ming aka The Sleeping Dragon and from thereon founded the Kingdom of Shu.

Liu Bang who later became the Great Emperor Gaodi the founder of the Han Dynasty had the assistance of Zhang Liang, who was a fugitive during the rule of Qin, another great strategist in the history of China.

And in recent times, President George W.Bush had the assistance of Karl Rove who became his Chief Strategist, Karl was a college dropout and a relative unknown in the political world and is today renown for making George Bush the President of the USA. You can read the book titled simply "How Karl Rove Made George W.Bush Presidential" by the authors James Moore and Wayne Slater. Karl Rove was appointed Senior Advisor and the Deputy Chief of Staff  and held many other appointments in the White House. The President had publicly acknowledged the contribution from Karl Rove and called him "The Architect" in his victory speech in the 2004 Presidential Election. Karl Rove armed with only a secondary school education is an amazing strategist and maybe some of you should read about his voter targeting and registration strategy, hahaha.. sounds familiar? You want to win the next General Election?

Watch out for the next Part VII coming soon..
Read Part V HERE
Read Part I HERE
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