Everyone working for an employer likes to feel appreciated and see their hard work rewarded. Everyone also wants to win the promotions and pay raises they deserve. Let's read some email we have gotten about how good strategy changes the arc of people's careers.
For us at the Institute, nothing is more gratifying that getting a message from a customer that starts out: "Just wanted to tell you how much your books have changed my life."
This particular message came from Ossy Herdandez. Ossy was familiar with Sun Tzu's work before discovering adaptations. His message goes on to say:
"I have in my collection many different translations of Sun Tzu's work on different subjects and comparing them to yours is like 'balancing a silver coin with a gold coin.' No contest. The book that changed all this was your book on career building.
We hear from a lot of people who have found our training in Sun Tzu's methods invaluable in their career. We hear from all types of people at all stages of their careers. We hear from kids just starting out and university professors. We hear from doctors, lawyers, and from people just trying to find their way. They have all discovered the same lesson: they make better decisions when they start using Sun Tzu's methods.
For Lorenz Dulfo who was just coming out of school, had the same problems that a lot of young people have adjusting to the workplace. He wrote us:
"I recently got my very first job... I was totally overwhelmed by the totally different environment of the corporate world as opposed to the country club atmosphere of my college days. I was failing, making mistakes at every turn."
Lorenz found us and enrolled in our on-line Warrior Class lessons in decision-making. He found that they made all the difference:
"Now, I am able to enjoy work and life more because slowly I am trying to change the way i think.."
This difference isn't only something that you feel. It is something others notice as well. People are continually surprised by what a difference even a little knowledge of Sun Tzu's strategy makes. Another student of ours, Edward Forgacs, who is still in school while working writes:
"After reading and implementing just a few of Sun Tzu's suggestions I have already noticed an improvement, and so have my teachers, employer, etc. I did not realize that The Art of War would have such a significant impact on my life. Thank you so much!"
This instant transformation doesn't only affect people at the beginning of their career. Gerald Verno was already in management when he found our work teaching strategic awareness. He also seemed surprise at how much difference it made:
"I picked up a copy of your book 'The Art of Management' and began applying it to my career. The rewards were instantaneous...It has helped in many situations!!!"
Another fan of our Management Warrior work is Bohdan Chac. He was particularly impressed by the techniques it offered for winning without conflict. He now finds it invaluable in helping him deal with the internal politics of his organization. He writes:
"My favorite chapter was 7 'internal politics'. It is amazing how much of my time (well paid) was spent on it [internal politics] and that in reality it was all wasted. ...As you move up the corporate ladder, you are forced to play more and more politics, and for an entrepreneur like myself it is the hardest part cause I feel like its all a wasted time."
That idea is echoed by Amit Gupta, who also had a problem with internal politics. He discovered that he had to change his strategic reflexes in order to avoid them. He writes about our Management Warrior book:
"I really feel that this book came at the right time. I was kind of trying to find a way to better my position in corporate world. I am not too good a politician and found myself trapped into corporate politics for no good reason. After understanding the difference between planning and strategy, I was able to find out where I was wrong."
As we have heard again and again, no matter how successful you are in your career, mastering Sun Tzu's methods can help you do better. This is true even if you are already a university science professor at Harvard like Sam Guo. He writes us:
"This is a wonderful book, which tells people of how to succeed in their career. For me, it provides tips of how to become a great professor in science."
Nor do you have to be in the business world. Ron Hatfield was a former prosecutor who went into the public sector focusing on public safety and victim programs who felt he had "been at war for the past twenty years." Contrasting his work as a prosecutor with working in the public sector, he writes:
"...I didn't know who the "enemy" was. As a prosecutor, it was pretty easy - the defendant and his/her attorney. However, I wasn't supposed to be at war with my prospective client, but it very often seemed that I was."
As we hear so often, we were able to help him understand his position for the first time in year almost instantly.
"The first pages of this book really brought into clarity who my enemy was, and it made all the sense in the world!"
Of course, our work isn't just providing knowledge about comparing positions, it is about retraining people's automatic responses. The stories that customers tell us often illustrate how differently they behave before and after training. Dan (who asked us not to use his last name), another student of our Warrior Class Lessons, tells the story about how he was backstabbed by a coworker during a meeting. At first, he felt his old anger, but then something different happened:
"After work I was walking to the car, plotting my revenge, when I came to my senses. My first thought was profit."
He found himself comparing the relative positions of the man who backstabbed him and himself. He quickly realized that his success in his career had nothing to do with getting into battles with this particular person. He goes on to say:
"Normally I would have lain awake all night thinking about what [he] did and what my response should be, but once I thought about the terrain, our relative positions, and the position I am trying to move into I was completely calm about the whole incident...what he did can only hurt me if I let it distract me from pursuing success on my terms. I really appreciate what I have learned from your books. I wish more people would read them."
Without good reflexes, you cannot help but react emotionally. Training yourself to compare strategic situations not only improves your career, but it can improve the way the world works.