In Step with Projects

In Pace with Progress

Taiji Logic: Chinese Wisdom for Project Governance

Author: Ding Ronggui

Publisher: China Electric Power Press

Publishing date: May, 2018



Everyone observes and understands the world based on his / her own logic. Due to differences in logic, we hold different standpoints and approaches in doing things. Managers need a specific logic that distinguishes themselves from other professionals, which is Taiji logic. 

Projects exist due to changes, which originate from the opposite and unitary contradiction of Yin and Yang. Effective project governance mechanism is to make timely predictions about the primary contradictions in project governance and take proper opportunities to deal with these conflicts in a manner accepted by all stakeholders. The most appropriate moment to solve contradictions is the “Taiji period” when the two sides of a contradiction rotate from integrated whole (stillness period) to disintegration of Yin and Yang. The core of project governance in Chinese wisdom is to take advantage of these Taiji periods to guide the forces of yin and yang based on golden-mean (which is called Zhong-yong in Chinese) contradiction-solving approaches. In this way, we can not only make use of contradictions to promote project development but also resolve contradictions before they erupt, thus enabling project governance to be in a dynamic and harmonious state and meet the needs of stakeholders to the maximum. It is the state described in Tao Te Ching as follows: “When work is achieved and tasks are fulfilled, all the people say: our way should be like this naturally.” 

"Taiji logic" is a unique dialectical thinking theory and method in Chinese culture based on balance of specific interests. The three basic pillars of Taiji logic are as follows: to pinpoint key project contradictions based on the principle of opposition & unity of Yin and Yang; figure out time opportunity to solve contradictions according to the evolution law of Yin-Yang differentiation of Taiji; and to take the flexible Zhong-yong thought to balance stakeholder needs to manage contradictions.

The collision and fusion of various cultures make our world colorful but also full of conflicts at the same time. Chinese-style Taiji logic offers effective philosophical thinking and methodology to manage conflicts in project governance. In VUCA era, due to the variety and complexity of cultures, we tend to be lost in the bushes of various management theories, methods and practices. Identifying the logic of managing things helps us find an easy and clear path out of the bush. In a nutshell, Taiji logic enables us to get things done in a balanced and effective way. 

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