The Art of War & the Royal Commission

I’ve always loved the book “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, written in the 5th century BCE. It’s full of age-old truths about leadership and psychology. I am reminded of its lessons as I think strategically about where our industry is going post the Royal Commission.

Here’s four big lessons we can take from Sun Tzu and apply them to a strategy for repairing the trust that has been severely eroded through the Commission. When people see real hurt from the case studies that have come out of the Commission, they want to see change quickly - and a commitment to transparency. Without this process actually happening, and being communicated in the right way, the industry will never regain the trust of Australians.


1) Commit to paying the price for the challenge at hand

There is a big price to pay for those of us working in the industry to fix the relationship with the public. It’s going to take lots of hard work, bravery, entrepreneurial thinking, and a cleansing of the old guard. This will take time and will have a hefty price in both financial and labour cost.

Commit to this now. If you don’t accept this, you won’t achieve a meaningful connection with a public who desperately need leadership from us.


2) Planning and preparation are the key to success

If you are not starting to plan for post Royal Commission now, you will miss the boat. Once that report drops in February most businesses will be thinking what next. The smart strategists will be planning now - six months will pass in the blink of an eye.


3) The battle is won in the mind long before it is won in the field

If you don’t believe hand-on-heart that what you offer is the best, fairest, and most valuable service or product, you have a problem. You need to make sure you have done all the preparation work to get it right - and know convincingly in your own mind, that what you say is what you deliver. That way it will only be a matter of time and continuous effort that will prove your proposition and restore trust.


4) Break down big tasks into smaller ones

Like dealing with an army, the big picture often gets lost in the detail. Make sure this mammoth task of developing strategy and product to restore trust is broken into smaller components and tick them off one by one. Without this you could lose sight of the ability to get there. Each milestone should be celebrated - it’s a big job.

It’s no accident that we are adding high quality resources to our team here at No More Practice Education. We know the task ahead to support advisers through increased education requirements, and the ability to communicate to the broader public in an authentic and value adding way takes time, resources and a commitment to quality. I’m proud to say I believe it’s a war we will win.

 Until next time



The opinions expressed in this content are those of the author shown, and do not necessarily represent those of No More Practice Education Pty Ltd or its related entities. All content is intended for a professional financial adviser audience only and does not constitute financial advice. To view our full terms and conditions, click here.

Ben Sutton


Found your comments very helpful thanks Vanessa

Jerry Bennette


As a student of Sun Tzu for many years I am of the view that the bankers and financial planners should read The Art of War.

Leave a comment /

Related content /

17 July, 2018

Vanessa Stoykov,creator,No More Practice

Four ways advisers will make money in the future

In recent articles, I have written about the opportunity in the changing landscape for advisers who are prepared to capitalise on disruption. And p....

Read now

26 June, 2018

Vanessa Stoykov,creator,No More Practice

Five ways the industry will change post Royal Commission

We will truly see a new landscape over the coming two to three years, with more change happening now than has happened in the last decade. While no....

Read now

18 June, 2018

Vanessa Stoykov,creator,No More Practice

Three things advisers must do post Royal Commission

While it may seem like everywhere you turn that there’s more bad news coming from the Royal Commission, there are also positive actions all advis....

Read now