5. The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants, with the result that one-third of his men are slain, while the town still remains untaken. Such are the disastrous effects of a siege.


Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu is cautioning against the dangers of losing one’s temper and making rash decisions in the heat of battle. He uses the metaphor of a general attacking a town like “swarming ants” to illustrate how a lack of control and discipline can lead to unnecessary losses and failure in a military campaign. The message is that a cool head and careful planning are essential for success in war.

The leader, unable to control their irritation, will launch their team into a new project without careful planning, with the result that one-third of their time and resources are wasted, while the goal remains unaccomplished. Such are the disastrous effects of a lack of strategy.

In a business setting, it is important to carefully plan and strategize before launching into a new project or initiative. This can help to ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively, and that the desired goals are achieved. When a leader becomes impatient or loses their temper, they may be tempted to rush into action without considering the potential consequences. This can lead to costly mistakes and a waste of time and resources, as well as damaging the company’s reputation and credibility.