The Ancient Eastern Strategist: A Disciple of Silent Transformations

Disciple of silent transformations, the ancient Eastern strategist patiently waits for the adequate moment to intervene and to induce change indirectly. The right touch, the right word, at the right time in the right place.

Frédéric Bagutti


William Gagliano, Silent Transformations, 2019

The way of a stealth warrior

The ancient Eastern strategist is not here on this earth to revolutionize the world.

He does not seek reorganization on the basis of some order or another.

The ancient Eastern strategist does not even fantasize to redeem his audience and has no wish to bring to others what nobody asks of him and that he may not even have.

He does not force the course of things.

The ancient Eastern strategist is not a hero.

He does not even praise audacity.

Some Westerners would say that the ancient Eastern strategist looks lazy and lacks ambition, that he ain’t no leader.

The degree of the efficacy of the ancient Eastern strategist’s behavior is determined by the extent to which he refrains from trying to manage things (Jullien, 1995).

The ancient Eastern strategist is a stealth warrior.

Face-to-face with uncertainty

The concepts and tools of risk may be useful for dealing with repeated situations, but they become hazardous when dealing with the many dimensions that characterize complex and largely unprecedented settings.

When the conditions aren’t simply unstable but have become chaotic, outcomes aren’t simply hard to foresee, they are completely unpredictable.

Inhabited by a strong desire to categorize uncertainties and understand what will happen, the Western thinker creates frameworks to harness the ambiguity of a VUCA world. It is now time for BANI: Brittle, Anxious, Non-linear, Incomprehensible (Sridharan, 2021).

When the Western leader ambitions to reduce uncertainty by developing step-by-step analyses and alternative scenarios…



Frédéric Bagutti

Organizational behavior consultant and executive coach, licensed psychologist, EMCCC INSEAD. You can find me at: