Beware of “high-level dumb”​ – 10 Lessons to Build an Efficient Organization #6

Introduction to the 10 Lessons to Build an Efficient Organization series

My series of Sun Tzu (who one of the most influential Chinese philosophers) is focused on the topic of how to develop an efficient organization. You might think that these are trivial things and they should be. However, I see that even these trivial things are not working in many organizations. I had to conclude that the fundamental rules of leadership are non-trivial as ego, pride, emotions and thought patterns come in the way.

Sun Tzu: By ordering an advance while ignorant of the fact that the army cannot go forward, or by ordering a retreat while ignorant of the fact that the army cannot fall back. This is described as “hobbling the army.


I was working in a team which worked already over-hours every day for the past weeks. A manager who was previously not directly involved with a team’s work came and stated that the team is not working enough. He was not aware of the actual situation, yet he judged the team and their performance.


This situation increases the frustration in the team, even more, making the situation worse as the team’s effort is not appreciated. If the team is close to the edge of their pressure-handling capability the team might refuse any additional over hours.

Not feeling appreciated is among the number one reasons why talents leave a company.

The team might simply stand up and leave. Imagine the devastating effects of this. Even if one talent would leave in that situation, it could have a huge negative effect on the team’s motivation and performance.

Learning lesson

Asses the situation first then act. Avoid pressuring the team in an unstable situation. This would worsen the already critical situation.

Analyze, understand and act should be the course of action.

The more information we have of a situation, people, morals, partners, market, competition the better decision we can make. In some cases, it might be unavoidable to act quickly. Decisions still need to be made involving those people in the appropriate levels. These talents often have the best knowledge to assess and share.

Managers hire people and tell them what to do. Leaders hire people and let them tell what is the best way to achieve the vision.

What are the best methods to assess a critical situation?

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Written by András Kapros
Author, Productivity evangelist, Investor | András is helping teams to achieve excellent customer satisfaction by transforming mindsets and optimizing processes. He has 15+ years of experience of managing teams in multi-cultural market-leading companies in Switzerland and Hungary. Others say that he is organized and has a good overview of the projects he is working on. He spent more than 3500 hours on studying personal development and productivity. He wrote and published his first self-help book from scratch in three months. Write an e-mail or book a productivity call with András