The ART Of Business

Einstein and the U.S. Military on Solving Problems

Heraclitus, the 6th Century B.C. Greek philosopher, got it about right when he observed that "Nothing endures but change".

While the challenges the ancients faced are similar to our own, what has certainly changed is the accelerated pace that our modern world places us in.

The pressure to confront uncertainty in a 24/7/365 environment is in stark contrast to the slower pace of Periclean Greece.

This reality of unrelenting, quickening change puts a premium on being able to solve problems in an effective manner.

But how is it done?

Albert Einstein, when asked how he would solve a problem if he only had one hour, said he would spend 55 minutes on trying to understand the nature of the problem and a mere 5 minutes working on the solution.

I think what he was saying is that getting to the context of a particular situation is necessary before a true resolution can be achieved.

Today, this notion of understanding the context seems to be at the heart of U.S. military strategy.

In a recent presentation at Duke University, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey spoke about how officers are being taught to think about the context of a situation first, before jumping to an answer.

We might do well to remember that it is the context that truly matters.

TAGS: Supply Chain
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