38. At the critical moment, the leader of an army acts like one who has climbed up a height and then kicks away the ladder behind him. He carries his men deep into hostile territory before he shows his hand.

帥與之期如登高而去其梯帥與之深入諸侯之地而發其機

Sun Tzu

In a critical moment, a leader should act decisively and not allow any options for retreat or retreat. The metaphor of climbing a ladder and then kicking it away suggests that the leader is committed to the course of action and will not allow any opportunities for retreat or backing down. The phrase “carrying his men deep into hostile territory” suggests that the leader is taking his followers on a risky and difficult journey and is not revealing his true intentions until they are deeply committed to the mission. The overall message of the quote is that a leader should be bold and decisive, even in the face of uncertainty or danger.

In a critical moment, the leader of a business must act decisively and commit to a tactic without any room for failure. He leads his team into the campaign without revealing his tactic until they are fully invested.

There are many situations in business where it may be necessary for a leader to keep certain information or tactics hidden from the team until the right moment. One example is when a business is facing financial difficulties or cash flow problems. In this situation, it is important for the leader to maintain a sense of stability and confidence within the team, even if they are privately worried about the future of the company.

If the team were to become aware of the financial difficulties, it could lead to panic, loss of morale, and potentially even the loss of talented employees who may be looking for more secure opportunities elsewhere. In order to prevent this from happening, the leader must take on the burden of managing the crisis and finding a solution without revealing the full extent of the problem to the team.

This means that the leader must be able to act decisively and commit to a tactic without any room for failure. They must also be able to lead the team through the crisis without revealing the full extent of the problem, in order to maintain stability and confidence within the team. This can be a difficult task, as it requires the leader to be bold and confident in their actions, even when faced with uncertainty or risk.

However, it is important to note that this approach should not be used as a long-term strategy. Eventually, the leader will need to be transparent with the team about the challenges facing the business and work together to find a solution. In the meantime, the leader must be careful to balance the need for secrecy with the need for open communication and collaboration within the team.