Besiege Wei to Rescue Zhao

Strategy 2

When the enemy is too strong to attack directly, then attack something he holds dear. Know that in all things he cannot be superior. Somewhere there is a gap in the armor, a weakness that can be attacked instead.

Modern Example

There was a project manager at a company I used to work for. She'd been there a while and was a fairly snappy dresser. Because of her looks and demeanor, she had a reputation as a good project manager, even though deadlines were foreign to her, she frequently forgot meetings, and she was the most disorganized person I had ever met. Her cubicle was filled with little appreciation trinkets, piles of paper and scattered folders, and plaques with cutesy sayings on them. She could barely use a computer. Yet, at this company, reputation was very much based on appearance and gossip. When my meticulous work habits threatened to show her up a couple of times, she got bitchy with me. She didn't work for the same boss I did, but she could have gone crying to them in a heartbeat. Therefore, I started to lay the groundwork for my own defense. In status reports, I documented her lack of involvement by noting the contributions of all the respective project managers with whom I worked (appearance of impartiality). When she forgot meetings, I sent out memos that reviewed the highlights of the meeting and listed who was present and who was absent. When my then boss made a remark to me about whether this person had gotten a piece of information to me in a timely manner or not, I said, "Well, you know how she is sometimes". When I went out to lunch with her peers, I said things that implied that she was doing a bad job, and then left them to spread the word on their own. I never said anything that could be directly attributed back to me. Later, when she decided to bad-mouth me publicly, she found that somehow, she had developed a reputation for being unreliable, and it was too late to prevent me taking a promotion into a completely different department (I was glad to get the heck out of there, and not a moment too soon!).