Will He Read The Art of War?
If you want to glimpse the inner forces that drive an organization, you need only observe their methods and listen to their words. Especially when they're not paying attention.
Words and methods reveal motives. Listen to a person carefully and you will hear the beating of their heart. Do what they do and you'll become who they are. So be careful whose advice you take and whose methods you adopt.
You cannot use the tools of another without placing your hands where their hands have been. Desire their outcome, adopt their methods, and you embrace the values that are hidden beneath.
Advertising in America got twisted and bent when it became fashionable to read The Art of War.
The most commonly used words in marketing today are “target” and “objective.” Strange ideas for retailers, don't you think, when their goals are to attract and serve? Let's replace those two words, then, and see how it affects the heart.
Advertising consultants, instead of asking, “Who is your target?” why not ask, “Who are we hoping to attract?” Instead of asking “What is our objective? ask, “How are we hoping to serve?” Prepare yourself for strange and revealing reactions to these questions because while it's fashionable to spout about having “great service,” few want to truly serve.
Business people, do you want to attract multitudes? Develop the heart of a servant – one who truly loves – and you will quickly become beloved. The world has masters aplenty; it is servants who are in short supply.
I'm not the first to note how words and actions reveal the heart. Luke tells of a dawn two thousand years ago when Jesus walked grass still wet with dew. After choosing from among a great crowd of followers the twelve who would accompany him to the end, Jesus stepped forward and spoke to the waiting throng, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
Now let's look at Jesus' actions – beginning with his choosing of the twelve – and see if they reveal his motives: The fact that none of them were leaders in the business community indicates that he wasn't planning to measure membership or attendance numbers, build a bank account or launch a political action committee. “Minister” was more of a verb in his day.
Flash forward to his final day in John 13: “… so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” The twelve were aghast. Foot washing was like scrubbing a public toilet or scraping gum off the bottom of bus benches. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” Jesus asked them. “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
Consciously or unconsciously, each of us follows a hero. We model our actions after their actions and measure our success according to their values. Are you consciously aware of whose example you are following? Look quietly to your daily actions and you'll find your hero vividly revealed.
Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War five hundred years before Jesus felt the morning grass beneath his feet.
Somehow I doubt he ever read it.
Roy H. Williams
PS – After proofreading this memo, my son Rex sent me an email saying that in the movie Batman Begins, a childhood friend says to Bruce Wayne in a pivotal scene, “It's not who you are inside, but what you do that defines you.” Isn't it funny how we find wisdom in the strangest of places?
PPS – Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg's proven, practical advice is based on the principle of serving the online customer in the way the customer prefers to be served. Have you reserved your seat for their Sept. 8-9 one-time-only seminar at Wizard Academy? You really don't want to miss it.
Likewise, Steve Clark's New School Selling is based on serving rather than “handling.” Salespeople trained in New School methods have less stress, a better self image, and higher sales than their old school counterparts. I'm not sure when the next class is scheduled, but it's definitely a life-changing experience.