Far West Capital’s Book Club
A few month’s ago, we initiated the Far West Capital Book Club to find and discuss books that connect with our core values. For our second pick we chose something you might be familiar with: The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
The book is an ancient text on Chinese military tactics, but it is laced with principles of leadership, strategy and team that are directly applicable to business, and more importantly, to unleashing potential both in and out of the work place. While we encountered some concepts that don’t exactly apply, (after all, you can’t take a book on military strategy and expect it connect to everything you do in the office) we teased through each chapter and found some pretty valuable takeaways. Here are our favorite lessons:
Awareness of yourself and your surroundings is key.
Sun Tzu consistently emphasizes the importance of being aware of yourself, your challenges and your environment. He insists that great leaders are marked by their ability to understand all of these things at once, and that you cannot attain excellent leadership without this in-depth and widespread familiarity. At Far West Capital, we constantly strive to better understand ourselves, our clients and our circumstances. We believe that by recognizing the big picture and understanding how we fit into it, we can better position ourselves to make decisions that will help unleash potential for our clients.
Build your brand and champion it.
There is a section of the book when Sun Tzu writes about the importance of making your troops known on the battlefield. He says that the use of drums, flags and song not only help to distinguish your team, but effectively builds camaraderie and team spirit among your forces. We realized that the modern day equivalent of this is creating a philosophy that your team can get behind and giving them the resources to really connect over what they are championing. Whether it’s through team-building exercises, company outings, or even good old company SWAG, there are many ways to enhance your company’s mission and grow support for what you are trying to accomplish. You just can’t be shy about what that is.
You can’t control everything that will happen – but you can be prepared for anything that comes your way.
The honest truth about entrepreneurship is that it’s not going to be easy. There will be hurdles, there will be roadblocks… there will even be failures. And if you’re going to give it your all and truly strive for success, you have to be realistic about how to combat the challenges that you will face.
Of course, the problem with this, and what scares people most, is that you can’t predict when and how your company might run into crisis mode. There are times where you may see something coming from a mile away, but there are other times where you’re totally blindsided, left with your guard down. And then what? What we learned from Sun Tzu is that you can’t necessarily have a step-by-step plan for every situation you encounter, but you can build an adaptable team that isn’t afraid of a challenge – and that will take you wherever you need to go.
What new books are you currently reading? Let us know by leaving us a comment below.