WHEN the Great Tao was abandoned,
There appeared humanity and justice.
When intelligence and wit arose,
There appeared great hypocrites.
When the six relations lost their harmony,
There appeared filial piety and paternal kindness.
When darkness and disorder began to reign in a kingdom,
There appeared the loyal ministers.
When things get “out of whack”,
People will say “well, we do this because its the right thing to do”, or “it seem fair”.
When you value intelligence and wit over balance and centeredness
People will start looking for the seams and angles to play.
When things really start losing their harmony,
People start talking about “loyalty” and “responsibility”.
And when darkness and disorder run the show,
Only the “yes men” and “always be closing” people survive.
This is a great verse to meditate over. One doesn’t rely on loyalty or a sense of “owing” the workers or the company, and certainly management by the Tao is beyond a focus on “shareholder value” or other short-term notions of performance. If you work in a firm that calls for loyalty, respect, dedication, or similar calls to duty, then it is probably not managing with the Tao. The Tao calls for none of these because it is harmony and does not have to call on these constructs for good performance. Manage with the Tao and people perform because they feel in synch.
Recent business history is littered with the remains of “the smartest guys in the room”, and “The Firm”.
There are no seams to management with the Tao, no angles to play, no levers to leverage.
This is a Tao of Management.