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Sun Tzu was a revered military philosopher of ancient China, and author of “The Art of War”. He is certainly still essential reading for military commanders, but is the ancient wisdom of Sun Tzu still relevant to 21st century business leaders?

Every battle is won or lost before it’s ever fought – Sun Tzu

We have invited our Chinese Leadership Strategist, Mr. Lim Liat to share more with us about Sun Tzu Art of War. Mr Lim has been helping businesses to grow with the ancient Chinese Philosophy. The ancient Chinese Philosophy can solve all problems because it is about the harmony of diversity which is needed in today’s business.

Watch Aventis Dialogue with Mr. Lim Liat to find out more!

The Art of War is not just about warfare, but much more. It is about how to achieve success in life, be the consistent winners, with giant-killing capabilities. It is the winner’s mindset. It is by knowing how to analyze a situation and then to strategize and to make the right decision to do the right thing, at the right time and place and with the right people, using the least effort, while creating the maximum impact, and with the minimum risks. It is the strategy to find the right strategy in this VUCAD (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous, Deceptive) world.

It is also about character and leadership development. Managing our emotions and leading others to achieve shared visions. It shows us how success can be achieved despite our limited resources and how we can even dethrone the giants in our markets.

What is the difference between Sun Tzu Art of War and Gui Gu Zi’s Strategic Alliances?

Sun Tzu briefly mentioned the need to form alliances or to destroy other alliances but did not elaborate on them. Forming a strategic alliance enables one to achieve Sun Tzu’s recommended best strategy for winning which is not just winning every time but to win without a war. Such a gap is covered by Gui Gu Zi’s Art of Strategic Alliance and Persuasion. Thus, Mr. Lim Liat named Gui Gu Zi’s wisdom that augments Sun Tzu’s as “Advanced Sun Tzu’s Art of War” to show the linkage. Sun Tzu’s Art of War focuses on the IQ or hard skill for warfare and Gui Gu Zi augments it with the EQ, the soft skill for an alliance. If Sun Tzu is about economics, then Gui Gu Zi is about behavioral economics. To compete well, we need to learn Sun Tzu and to do even better we need to form alliances with Gui Gu Zi’s.

Using ancient wisdom in the modern business

All such ancient wisdom must be applied wisely to the current business world in which there is a judge that decides who wins. The judge is the customer who votes with his money. Business is actually a love-affair with our customers with our competitors as the other suitors. We must master Gui Gu Zi’s wisdom to know and gain the customer’s heart and desire and using Sun Tzu’s wisdom to out-compete our competitors. Such then is the sure way to long term success in this VUCAD world.


In summary, Sun Tzu Art of War and Gui Gu Zi Strategic Alliances are great ancient Chinese philosophy to help businesses. As Sun Tzu ever said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” We must have a powerful business strategy to compete with our competitors in the current market. Sun Tzu tell us not to leave things to chance or luck, nor to blessings of God. Everything must be examined, measured and calculated. You can know the outcome by calculation at the beginning.  Here are 5 factors that we need to look at — mission and values, seasonal trends and timing, terrain advantages, capability of leaders, and methods & policies.

Are you ready for a challenge to transform your business to a greater height?


Is Sun Tzu still relevant to modern leaders?