Saturday, January 11, 2020

A Set of Lao Tzu’s Quotes to Inspire Progressive and Holistic Management Discipline

The wise quotes from ancient philosopher Lao Tzu reflect the essence of progressive life freedom and the holistic management discipline. 

Lao Tzu as the founder of philosophical Taoism wisely put: “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Philosophy comprises logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology. Philosophy is the mother of all sciences and involves examining basic concepts such as reality, truth, existence, causality, and freedom. Philosophers love abstraction and hate complexity.

Running the business is both art and science, it is important to see complexity explained away in terms of a few simple principles an issue cannot be attained. Digital leaders today are encouraged to leverage multiple disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, or technology, etc, look for an experience of truth, the unfolding of wisdom by those who have gone beyond conventional thinking or traditional management disciplines. Here is a set of Lao Tzu’s quotes to inspire progressive and holistic management disciplines.

“Those who know do not talk; those who talk, do not know.” -Lao Tzu

With hyper diversity and “VUCA” digital normality, either being an introvert or extrovert, today’s digital leaders and professionals need to observe deeper, listen more and talk less; explore multiple perspectives, embrace diverse viewpoints, demonstrate the ability to step outside of the system and adopt different perspectives to gain an understanding of complex problems or sophisticated circumstances.

The unique thoughts, emergent trends, and updated knowledge are all that captivates digital leaders and professionals to learn and quickly absorb and adapt so that it becomes much easier to adjust to the needs of the changes necessitated with the evolving new thinking and trends, be able to shift focus repeatedly and fast, from the whole to the detail elements and their relationships.

“The Tao of Sage is work without effort.” - Lao Tzu

The digital paradigm shift is inevitable. The progressive movement and digital transformation is a natural process and rather effortless to maintain. In reality, things may fall into different levels, rules at one level may not work at the other level. Thus, to achieve such a state of effortless digital flow and dynamic balance, organizations today need to get away from letting things fall through and start creating “integrated wholes,” and drive digital transformation effortlessly.

Being effortless doesn’t mean lack of understanding, planning or hardworking, it is about knowledge fluidity, cognitive wisdom, thoughtful plot, strategic alignment or high-level changeability. To stay competitive, forward-looking organizations have to manage digital balance and growth cycles effortlessly for reaching the next level of organizational maturity.

“Because she competes with no one, no one can compete with her.” ― Lao Tzu,

Healthy competition catalyzes progressive changes and fuse innovations, however, negative or unhealthy competitions cause mistrust, deteriorate business relationships, and decelerate organizational speed. Therefore, the digital talent mantra needs to shift from “compete for the best of everything,” in the knowledge scarce industrial age to “compete for self-actualization and problem-solving via uniqueness in a people-centric digital era. Encourage authenticity, purpose-driven talent development and management, and discourage negative competition or unprofessionalism.

Either individually or collectively, competencies are interrelated with the traits and experience. The integrity and suitability of the competency are tested through traits such as multidimensional thinking (critical thinking, creative thinking, etc.) attitude, passion, entrepreneurship, leadership, passion, maturity, and wisdom. etc. It’s also crucial to set new criteria for assessing and recognizing talent. The management needs to pay more attention to those shining spots: Who can bring unique POVs, who can find a better way to solve problems, who is just unconventionally different, who is positive influencers of business culture? And who are those transformers to push the business up to the higher maturity? Select for innovation, and select for progress. The differentiation provided by unique capabilities usually is more long-lived than differentiation provided by marketing actions that can be copied easily.

“The more you know, the less you understand.” - Lao Tzu

With abundant information and knowledge is only a click away. The issue is that the knowledge cycle is significantly shortened. While the dangers of too little knowledge are widely acknowledged, not everyone appreciates the inherent dangers of too much knowledge particularly because of the inconsistencies and incoherence in the body of knowledge that surrounds us. Thus, being knowledgeable is not sufficient, gaining true understanding is critical for dealing with business dynamics and solving complex problems today.

There is also the danger of super specialization, which can deprive people of a holistic understanding. A lot of knowledge is not dangerous but thinking that I know a lot can make you complacent and arrogant. It can obstruct further learning, or become an obstacle to getting out of comfort zone and turn out to be a burden to explore new horizons. In practice, the ability to apply the right kind of knowledge at the right time with the right attitude comes through wisdom & diligent practices.

“True straightness seems crooked.True wisdom seems foolish.True art seems artless.”

― Lao Tzu

Either making effective decisions or sound judgments, it’s critical to dig deeper, see the invisible behind the visible; perceive the connections and interdependence, understand how things in the now came from the past and envision how changes would happen over time. What small change can be made that might effectively change the future significantly.

It is imperative to manage a healthy knowledge cycle from information to insight to wisdom. Act by gathering data and testing assumptions to validate understanding before tinkering. Focus on the nature of relationships rather than just on entities, nonlinear rather than just linear cause and effect relationships, to appreciate art, enjoy diversification, and truly understand the beauty of wisdom.
These wise quotes from ancient philosopher Lao Tzu reflect the essence of progressive life freedom and the holistic management discipline. Philosophy is the compass of human civilization. Philosophy involves examining basic concepts such as truth, existence, reality, causality, and freedom. There are more people on this planet than ever, we need more people pursuing truth, reality, and wisdom.


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