IT Applications of Sun Tzu’s Art of War: Attack by Stragagem

Sun Tzu wrote:

III. ATTACK BY STRATAGEM
18. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy
and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a
hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy,
for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will
succumb in every battle.

We assume that we possess an accurate understanding of our own skills and capabilities. Many people, however, tend to overestimate their own performance, skills or capabilities. When they do, they make a fatal mistake which guarantees they will never see success.

Take some time out of your busy schedule to assess and re-assess your own skills and capabilities. An excellent way to do this is to review and update your current resume at least once a year. That will represent your view (however accurate) of yourself. Once you’ve updated this document, make sure to seek honest feedback from your colleagues. Hand them a red pen and request they be as brutally honest as they dare. Promise to take their feedback seriously and without retribution. Their honesty (should they wield it) will certainly be difficult to swallow and could possibly shatter your self esteem, but you will be better off for the experience.

Next, be sure to obtain as much information about potential projects and teams with which you work. If your skills do not benefit the team or will not advance the project, you should bow out. You will have only a 50/50 chance of success and may end up damaging your standing with others. Beware that some people may misrepresent the scope or requirements of a project. Be sure you always set up an exit path to avoid those sorts of situations.

With a solid grasp of your own capabilities and enough research prior to taking on any project, you will succeed far more times than you fail.