The Strength of Strategy

Recently on my facebook timeline I attempted to dish out some of my ideologies about the true status of our system of education.

I must admit, it was a hard step to take considering how controversial some of the points are.

In this report I wish to posture one of the rationales for my line of thought with respect to the pending dichotomy between what we learn in school and what is truly obtainable in real life. 

*Complicated vs. Complex Problems.

We live in a culture that’s constantly changing in a rapid manner. The problems confronting the world today, especially third world countries like Nigeria are far more different in nature than what it used to be.

The problems we face in our culture today can either be classed as “complicated” or “complex”. 

A clear understanding of the difference between the two will enable you as a thought leader to master to a reasonable extent the recurring real life problems that exist within your organization or industry.

Complicated and complex are not the same. The only similarity they share is the fact that they both deal with a difficult situation. But on a broader scale, they differ considerably.

When a problem is complicated, it has one predefined solution. It means the problem is dependent on just one variable. Find that one variable and the problem is gone.

On the other arm, a complex problem is dependent on many variables. You can’t solve a complex problem without a basic consideration for all the variables.

I am going to use the game of chess and the jigsaw puzzle in a nutshell to illustrate this difference.

If you are familiar with the brain behind the jigsaw puzzle and chess game, you can easily relate with the remarkable difference between complicated and complex realities.

A jigsaw puzzle is an example of a complicated reality. It is difficult to solve but has a unique solution. Once you are able to find the missing link between the highly interconnected pieces that forms the whole, you quickly get the puzzle fixed by assembling the pieces together into shape. 

A jigsaw is just a game of logic. It demands rational thinking style.

Conversely, the game of chess is a complex reality because while it is difficult to solve, the solution is dependent on multiple variables inclusive of the 16 independent and interdependent pieces comprising of the king, queen, rooks, knights, bishops and pawns. These represent the variables. Without a deep understanding of these variables in the chess game, a player is bound to lose to an opponent.

So unlike the jigsaw puzzle, the game of chess is a game of strategy. It demands guerrilla tactics or strategic thinking style.

The difference between complicated and complex problems can also be likened to the difference between sending a rocket to the moon successfully, and getting a child to succeed in school.

While the former requires less of strategy and more of logic, the latter requires more of strategy and less of logic.

As a leader in your industry or organization, your ability to solve complex problems is what distinguishes you from everyone else. 

Complicated problems do not require any much of strategy to get them solved. All it demands is the use of logical and technical expertise to implement a predefined process or procedure that tackles the problem once and for all. 

On the other lane, to arrest complex problems, strategy is key because complex problems deal with multiple independent and interdependent factors which are constantly changing. 

The more I think of this key differences, the more I get to appreciate the role of strategic leadership in championing economic revolution in our present culture.

The problems we face in our culture today are not complicated, they are rather complex. From social crisis to political instability, the problems are just complex in nature.

Hence the need for strategic leaders.

What are the skills, dispositions, and core competencies that provoke strategic leadership? 

How can you develop the capacity to become a strategic leader in your industry and in the world at large?

The answer lies with what is called LIFE-SKILLS. 

What are Life-skills?

They are those essential skills that equip and empower individuals to constantly rise above the challenges of an ever-changing world like ours.

Life-skills is a composite of about 6 set of skills.

Unfortunately the one system which is supposed to imbibe this set of skills in individuals, a system where we spend a larger part of our childhood and adolescent age, does not seem to readily acknowledge the essentiality of these skills, nor does it have the expertise necessary for integrating them in the individuals that pass through it.

You know the system I am referring to right? Yes, I am talking about the school system.

Because I wouldn’t want this report to be unnecessarily longer than it already is, I will highlight the 6 components of Life-skills in a later report. But I will expound them in a book I am planning to publish this year entitled “The Lies They Told Us In School: rebuilding the base for educational revolution.”

Please your comments and feedbacks to this report are highly coveted by me.

Thank you!


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