The Book of Five Rings was written by Miyamoto Musashi, a sixteenth-century samurai who taught warriors to battle with both the short and the long sword. To lead, and to fight fuckery, we’ve adopted Musashi’s metaphor, introducing the short sword of Discovery and the long sword of Direction. Leaders use the short sword with confidence to listen, ask questions, and build relationship. The long sword is used to set the course, advocate a position, and establish accountability. Your aim, with both swords, is to root out and kill habits that damage trust.
Discovery requires you to step close. Paying attention is key, as well as curiosity. You must engage all your senses, cuing in on motivation, resistance, and any threats to trust. Permission is required to advance. The short sword is precise in nature and seeks to understand.
Standing back and swinging a long sword is both energy-consuming and imprecise. Direction has its place, but not as a singular approach. The long sword, seeking to be understood, works once you’ve established a relationship and committed to listening first. Most of us make the mistake of leading with the long sword.
See below for details on the swords.
File Download: Discovery the Short Sword
File Download: Direction the Long Sword