Third Chinese Rule
Chinese methods for dealing with conflict and competition are indirect. The traditional Chinese method is to bide time–for decades if necessary–until external factors are favorable, use spies and counterspies to gather information, disrupt the enemies alliances, sow discord among his followers, frustrate his strategies, and use the strength of another.
These are realities that Westerners need to learn how to deal with the Chinese and to do business with them successfully. Tim Clissold has worked and done business in China over twenty years and in his book, Chinese Rules, we learn many other things, too, such as a history of how Mao came to power and how he never brushed his teeth, which were black, and that he loved to play bridge.
According to the New York Times, “‘Chinese Rules, Five Timeless Lessons from the Front Lines in China,’ is a wonderful read . . . one might not expect such poetry from a banker.”
Complaining that it’s somehow “unfair” is the equivalent of the Brits grumbling that in the American War of Independence, the Yankees wouldn’t wear red coats to make it easier to shoot them.
“Melons ripen,” Mao said. “Don’t pick them before they’re ripe. When they’re ready, they’ll fall off of their own accord.” So, to overcome an opponent says Clissold is to build up a psychological position that is so dominant that the outcome of any conflict becomes a foregone conclusion. The indispensable preliminary to battle is to attack the enemy’s mind.
Says Clissold, “Western methods of dealing with conflict rely mainly on the use of overwhelming firepower at a decisive moment in a direct physical attack; blast open the gates and bomb the enemy back to the Stone Age” with devastatingly superior weapons.
“Chinese concepts of conflict are the polar opposite; they rely not on overwhelming firepower but on silence, stealth, surprise, manipulation and deceit.”
And now, you see, as we welcome the Chinese currency into the world basket of currencies, Mr. Clissold offers many insights which can be a guide to global businesses. He can give guidance to Westerners and show how the Chinese use specific lessons to do business as they have been for over two thousand years.
It’s a book which I’ll read for instructive pleasure again. (Please excuse the information shown in the photo as I am unable to read Chinese.)