Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Wednesday 25 April 2007

Be honest and work hard!

As the work on the CEPA toolkit is finished, I ask my self: 'how do users know when to apply which good advice?' It makes me think of an ancient toolkit that for me has been a source of reflection and advice for strategic communication. This work not only addresses tactics for different situations, but even more so guides us how to develop the mental and spiritual attitude to make the right choices.

In 1645 Miyamoto Musashi wrote the Book of The Five Rings. A manual on strategy for samurai. In his introduction he explains that this strategy also has guided his mastering of other skills and arts. Some of his calligraphy and dawings can still be admired in Japanese museums. Over the years his book has become a source of inspiration not only for those specializing in martial arts but also for modern managers and politicians.

In the first section 'Earth' he positions 'the way of the strategy' and stresses the importance of preparation, practicing all arts, learning the ways of all professions and being honest. In the section 'Water' the focus is on becoming one with the target group. In 'Fire' it is about tactics to get results. 'Wind' is about other schools and paradigms and how not to get distracted by them. The last section is called 'Emptiness': absence of all narratives about strategy and complete clarity of mind to do the right thing.

Strategic communication can be practiced for large campaigns as well as for one-to one encounters. Like an experienced master craftsman knows his trade and picks without thinking the right tool from his box, daily study and continuous practice will make us pick the right interventions from the toolkit. Through practicing in all aspects of life we master the art of strategy. Humility and hard work. Once we do not think anymore of toolkit or strategy, we are close to the ultimate state of realising emptiness.

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