Africanus and Intelligence
Finding out about the lives of the leaders of history and learning about their decisions and achievements is very interesting, particularly when we think about fundamental values that are applicable in different spheres of our lives: one of these is intelligence.
Recently, as I was reading Africanus, The Son of the Consul by Santiago Posteguillo, I remembered that this value and knowledge are basic preconditions for designing a strategy and putting it into action.
In Africanus (and the rest of the Scipio Trilogy), the author describes the Punic Wars, a period in which Rome was at the point of disintegrating, and in which two great generals faced each other in history-defining battles.
Scipio, one of the most renowned military minds of his time, eventually managed to defeat Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who almost conquered Rome at the end of the third century before Christ. The process Scipio went through to recuperate the empire is very interesting. Hannibal, one of history’s greatest war strategists, was a formidable rival.
The clash between Hannibal and Scipio was no simple game of chance. To defeat the enemy, both clearly defined their objectives and used their intelligence to the utmost.
Coordinating armies during the Punic Wars required clearly defined goals for each battle, agility, dexterity and serious teamwork, but above all, a solid, clear, well-executed strategy.
The opponents managed to get detailed information about their adversaries and their resources, in addition to being very familiar with the art of war. That’s what made their actions effective: knowing their rival, the motivation of their decisions and anticipating their possible consequences are essential for achieving our goals in competitive surroundings.
Naturally, all these teachings translate into the corporate world. It’s vital to understand that in business, like in war, you operate amidst great uncertainty. To move into a market, we need a flexible action plan that takes into account the uncertainty of key variables, as well as agility to act in uncertain surroundings. We can’t change the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
Scipio and Hannibal, two great strategists, teach us that when planning is based on knowledge and we’re capable of executing those plans flexibly and intelligently, we’ll find ourselves closer to achieving our goals.