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As businesses pursue success, it’s important to place value on humanity and human relationships. In Chinese culture, this is reflected in “以人为本” (yǐ rén wéi běn), emphasizing “people-oriented” or “putting people at the centre”. The character “人” depicts the essential dignity and value of human life, a core value in Confucianism.

The character “人” is a typical pictograph character in Chinese, illustrating a person standing sideways. The oracle bone script, bronze script, seal script, and regular script all maintain this concise and straightforward line arrangement. The posture signifies the capacity for humans to use tools, which distinguishes us from animals. Ancient philosophers believed that humans are the most precious embodiment of nature and the universe.

To apply this ancient wisdom, businesses can adopt a strength-based approach, prioritizing people at the centre of their management strategy. This involves understanding individual interests, priorities and career goals, and aligning them with the organization’s vision and goals. While developing a personal development plan based on this approach may take more time, it’s worth the effort as placing people first recognizes them as a business’s most valuable asset.

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