When you first think of the term “divide and conquer”, you may picture a negative scenario of someone who tries to take over the hearts and minds of people through manipulation and almost a type of oppression for personal gain. You may envision troops or foot soldiers taking control of weaker sectors of people and land.
Well as a leader, this couldn’t be further from the truth. You can use this tactic for a positive change of an organization. You can use this to conquer negative thoughts and mindsets that are destructive and harmful to your organization’s well-being.
Think of the time of Jesus. He didn’t go straight to the mecca city called Jerusalem. He knew in order to make an impact in the most powerful city in the world, with the most powerful empire called the roman government, he’d need supporters. So what did he do? First, he developed an inner circle. He recruited disciples starting with Peter, the fisherman.
Next, he took the easy wins first. He went to the surrounding smaller cities preaching the kingdom of heaven. He moved from small town to small town gathering followers, dividing those with a soft heart from those who wouldn’t listen to him and loved their own sin more than peace and being made clean, sticking to the dogmatic ideas of what they should do and the traditions they were familiar with.
Once the land was divided and the troops were rounded up, those who remained were weaker than before and the Kingdom of the Messiah was stronger. It was so strong in fact; the Jewish leaders (scribes) conspired with the Roman government. They were afraid of what the crowds following Jesus were capable of doing.
Jesus saw the land of people were on a destructive path. He divided the group mentality and won them to his cause. When he did, he could approach the task of Jerusalem with power. The city faced a Kingdom, not just a King.
The same strategy can be used with everyday influence. If there is a group with a mentality that is leading them down a destructive path, you must change it, but you have to do it in a clever way. If you simply confront the group, you will meet the opposition of the group mentality and your words will fall on deaf ears. If you go against the giant of a group and lose, you will have a hard time convincing others to seeing things your way. Your cause will be lost if you are publically defeated by the group. You must divide, taking the easy wins first.
Once this happens, you can approach a positive change with power.