The observed lessons from the second section of chapter one (The Civil Teaching: Fullness and Emptiness) are:
- The chief executive officer (CEO/ ruler) should stay close to the other c-level officers and the senior managers (ministers).
- They (other C-level officers and senior managers) should not conceal significant organizational and business matters from the CEO and should comply with the wishes of the CEO.
- The CEO should be composed, dignified, restrained.
- The CEO should see and hear with clarity, integrating different perceptions and understanding deep matters.
The Chinese classics compared the ruler to heaven and the ministers to earth.
In a modern setting, the chief executive officer should always take a top-level view but does not get involved with the day-to-day running of the organization -- this is the role of the senior managers. While it is tempting for some chief executive officers to involved themselves with the detail, the consequences for lower oneself to the position of senior managers is to lose their respect.
The question then is how does a CEO lead (or how does a ruler rule), if they say little? The answer must be that what they say should be of great importance. They pull the larger levers of power. The senior managers and those below them turn the wheels of the organization in an aligned and synchronized response. In this way, the wishes of the CEO are achieved with grace and ease.
The principal skill of all successful CEOs is listening.
Each person who speaks to the CEO does so with an agenda, a purpose in what they say. The CEO should focus on this purpose and identify the truth amidst the bias. The most efficient mean to securing the truth is to listen to the different perspectives and determine the underlying common issues behind it.