Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The 36 Strategies: #28, Let them climb the roof, then take away the ladder

The 36 Strategies is a widely known guide to learning the art of strategy, which is second only to The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Where the Art of War is an overview of the entire subject of strategy, The 36 Strategies seeks to teach strategic thinking by way of 36 maxims divided into six categories of six maxims each.

#28 Let them climb the roof, then take away the ladder.

You maneuver enemies into a point of no return by baiting them with what looks like advantages and opportunities.

Here's an example. A co worker of mine once had a cell phone plan that he liked. The cell phone company called him up one day and offered him a different plan. This new plan sounded like it would be a good move, and so he did indeed move. After a couple of months, he decided that he actually preferred the old plan.

He called the cell phone company back and asked to be moved back to the old plan. What they told him was that the old plan was no longer available.

The company moved him off of a plan when it was no longer in THEIR interest for him to be there. They offered an incentive for him to move, which he did. Once he was on the proverbial roof, they took away the ladder.


Anonymous said...

I can think of one work situation where an employee who was perpetually spreading vicious gossip about an administrator began being courted by that administrator. Steadily the employee began to be given greater and greater opportunities to lead. Soon the employee grew arrogant in their privileges and treated those less privileges with inattention and callousness. He also began to rest on his laurels. This is when the administrator abandoned him on the roof. He was out there and exposed. The privileges were yanked. He was moved to a very poor location in the office. His supervising administrator released him to his direct competition, the person he'd been working against while badmouthing the other one.

Interestingly over the past month or so the original administrator has taken an active interest in giving the employee some favors again. I wonder where it will lead...

Any ideas? Which strategy does it fall into?

--ms lili

Rick Matz said...

IT could be all sorts of things. The administrator may have wanted to put that employee "in this place" after showing him some favor.

Having done that, and courting him again, who knows? The employee may be very grateful to brought in from the cold and could become a willing tool of the administrator.

The larger picture, from you necessarily brief discription, we cannot see.