“But they have an MBA?”
 – if only we had a Rand for every time business/hiring managers say this to us in an assessment feedback session. Qualifications do not equate to strategic thinking ability. For example, an MBA provides an individual with models and learnings upon which to draw, but does not guarantee the thinking ability required to create new and transformative models, solutions, and/or processes.

An individual’s level of managing complexity (not to be confused with complicatedness or difficulty) and high levels of ambiguity are key determinants of their ability to contribute strategically because they allow one to imagine beyond the known and current context. This is imperative at senior and executive levels within complex and changing organisations and markets, especially when the rules of the game are being rewritten.

Stratified Systems Theory (SST) based assessments and thinking provide a powerful framework to test for and understand this concept. To learn more about such a test, the Complexity Navigation Test (CNT) visit

Whether one characterises the business world as VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) or BANI (Brittle, Anxious, Non-linear, Incomprehensive), there seems to be the notion that strategic thinking is the silver bullet to leadership and business success. While we agree on its criticality, we must also not detract from the impact and importance of more operationally focused and tactical leaders. A 10/10 strategy is worth little if not complemented by the ability to translate it into plans that others can understand and implement effectively.

Leaders who are able to apply acquired knowledge and experience in a flexible and appropriate manner, especially when complemented by a hardworking and dedicated nature, are critical to business success. We firmly believe that organisations need all of these styles of thinking to thrive, and that it is the failure to achieve the required mix of thinkers that can set organisations up for collapse.

Our advice is to focus on ensuring that the right leadership capability is empowered in the right space to ensure that organisational strategy is not only created but effectively translated and implemented.

To learn more about our approach to assessments –

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