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The Failure to Execute Kobayakawa Hideaki, and the Fall of the Toyotomi

History shows us that we should not play things halfway.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was Undisputed Ruler of Japan. He had brought all the Japanese generals under his loyalty, set an extremely durable and efficient legal structure, and had achieved more than anyone in Japanese history - rising from a peasant servant to the height of command.

Unsatisfied with the fastest and largest ascent in all of Japanese history, Hideyoshi wanted to conquer all of Korea and China. In the year 1597, he launched the Second Korean Campaign.

In the most desperate times, strong cultures produce great heroes - and Korean Grand Admiral Yi Sun-Sin rose to the challenge, shattering the Japanese naval forces and cutting the supply lines. The Japanese forces pinned down in Korea had land superiority, solid defensive fortifications, and better artillery. But the Ming China/Joseon Korean alliance was winning the gradual war of attrition after establishing naval superiority.

Toyotomi had won basically every engagement he'd fought in throughout history. A scuffling defeat here and there, but he had seemed blessed by the gods themselves. He was, naturally, furious at the inability of his forces to conquer Korea.

Becoming A Faster Decisionmaker

In Western society, middle managers are routined satired, looked down on, and made fodder for all sorts of jokes and bad feelings. They're almost never celebrated.

And perhaps rightfully so, in most companies. No-one aspires to be a middle manager, so if you're stuck there long-term in the average company, you probably ain't any good as an executive or senior manager.

But middle managers are better at one thing than the vast majority of us:

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