I attended the Genghis Khan exhibit at the Irving Arts Center, "the largest collection of 13th century Mongolian artifacts ever assembled in a single showing." Genghis Khan and his descendants ruled the Mongol Empire, which was the largest empire in the history of the world. At one time, the empire spanned between 11 and 12 million square miles, across Eastern Europe and Asia.
In addition to ruling the empire, Genghis Khan created a postal system for his messages to travel quickly, passports, and international borders. He allowed Marco Polo to travel safely along well protected trade routes throughout the empire. In Il Milione, Marco Polo wrote about Genghis Khan, "He was man of great steadfastness and sense of a heroic figure. I tell you that when he was elected King he ruled with such moderation and justice that he was loved and revered by all, almost as god rather than ruler."
In Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote: The noble king was called Genghis Khan, Who in his time was of so great renown, That there was nowhere in no region, So excellent a lord in all things.
Genghis Khan leaves a lasting influence on modern-day management. His organization skills can be seen in his military. He led a 100,000-man army, which was organized by a system of 10. Armies were divided by units of 10; a squad had 10 men; a company had 10 squads; a division could have up to 10,000 men. Each unit of 10 elected its leader. Khan appointed commanders leading tens, hundreds, or thousands.
Khan attributed much of his success to educated people. He wrote, "The main reason for so impressive a rise of power of this country to shock the world lies in the art and skill of selecting educated and skilled people" (The Wit and Wisdom of Genghis Khan edited by Don Lessem, 2009).
Khan believed leaders must seek the counsel of their advisors and win the support of their men. He wrote, "If there is no leader among you, to whose counsel the other brothers and sons and helpmeets and companions submit themselves and to whose command they yield obedience, then your case will be like unto that of the snake of many heads. One night, when it was bitterly cold, the heads desired to creep into a hole in order to ward off the chill. But as each head entered the hole another head would oppose it, and in this way they all perished. But another snake, which had but one head and a long tail, entered the hole and found room for his tail and all his limbs and members, which were preserved from the fury of the cold" (The Wit and Wisdom of Genghis Khan edited by Don Lessem, 2009).
Rewrite Genghis Khan's "snake of many heads" story for teamwork today.