42. If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, they will be practically useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be useless.

卒未親附而罰之則不服不服則難用也卒已親附而罰不行則不可用也

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu is discussing the importance of discipline and punishment in maintaining a well-ordered and effective military. Sun Tzu argues that if soldiers are punished before they have had a chance to become loyal to their leader, they will not be willing to follow orders and will not be useful in battle. On the other hand, if punishments are not enforced once the soldiers have become loyal, they will become undisciplined and also be useless in battle. Sun Tzu is emphasizing the need for a balance between disciplining soldiers and building their loyalty in order to have a successful and effective military.

If a team is under strong leadership before they have developed loyalty to the company, they will not follow you. If, after the team has become loyal to the business, strong leadership is not provided, they will still be just as useless.

If a team is under strong leadership before they have developed loyalty to the company, they will not be inclined to follow the leader’s directions or decisions. This is because, without loyalty to the company, team members are not invested in the success of the business and may not see the value in following the leader’s guidance.

On the other hand, if a team has become loyal to the company, they will be more likely to trust and respect their leader. In this case, if strong leadership is not provided, the team may become directionless and unable to effectively work towards the company’s goals. As a result, they may be just as ineffective or unproductive as they would be without loyalty to the company.

In order for a team to be successful and productive, it is important for both strong leadership and loyalty to the company to be present. Strong leadership can help guide the team towards success, while loyalty to the company can motivate team members to work towards the company’s goals and objectives. Without either of these factors, a team is likely to struggle and may not be able to achieve its full potential.