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Bricks and the City – May The Horse Be With You!

Bricks and the City – May The Horse Be With You!

I’m writing this whilst trying to warm up as I’ve just been to watch the Chinese New Year celebrations at the University of Nottingham which ended in the most amazing fire works display.

Although I knew Chinese New Year was this weekend I hadn’t realised until I saw the Google (other search engines are available) doodle this week that we are coming into the Year of the Horse and we’re saying goodbye to last year’s Snake!

China has come up for me a few times recently as I worked on the University of Nottingham’s Si Yuan Centre which is a new academic building housing the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, the China Policy Institute and the Nottingham Confucius Institute.  Also, a couple of weeks ago someone left me a copy of ‘The Art of Strategy’ on my desk which is a translation by R L Wing of a classic book written by Sun Tzu entitled ‘The Art of War’ which was written between 480 – 221 BC.  I hasten to add they left that and a couple of other books on my desk, they weren’t laying down a gauntlet, at least I don’t think they were?!

So, mixing all of that together I decided to do some research into Chinese New Year and what the Year of the Horse will bring….

What I didn’t realise is that it’s a Spring festival, so we say goodbye to dreary January and we’re into Spring straight away!  It celebrates the start of the season of ploughing and sowing and the arrival of new life.  The date varies every year as it’s linked to the lunar calendar, the first date is the day of the new moon and it generally lasts for around 15 days ending with the full moon.

Having done some research on tinterweb the Horse year is a time of fast victories, energy is high and production is rewarded.  Decisive action, not procrastination brings victory and you have to act fast in a Horse year.  You could also end up galloping off in the wrong direction if you’re not careful!  Horses didn’t plough the fields in China, they helped to fight battles which brings me back to the Art of War!

Last week as well as rambling about random train journey conversations I also touched on Leadership.  One passage that stuck in my mind from the Art of Strategy is the Three Errors of Leaders:-

Leaders are those who protect the organisation.  If the protection is complete, the organization will be strong.  If the protection is flawed, the organisation will be vulnerable.  A Ruler can bring adversity to the Force in three ways.  The first one is:-

By not understanding that the Force is unable to advance and calling for an advance; Or not understanding that the Force is unable to retreat, and calling for a retreat.  This is called hobbling the Force.  This reminds me so much of what I think is so common in this industry, not understanding is the same as not listening if that person is not giving you the answer that you want to hear.

New year is also a time to set goals and targets and if you want to avoid galloping off in the wrong direction, having a clear vision and communicating that to your ‘force’ is really important.

Finally, having looked through some Confucius quotes today, the best one I read was:-

‘Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance’!

May the Horse be with you!