Ikenna Ngonebu Written by Ikenna Ngonebu · 2 min read >

We held our last Analysis of Business Problems (ABP) class on the 2nd of April 2022. It was one of my best ABP classes to date as we reviewed the movie: Gavin Hood’s 2015 war movie ‘Eye in the Sky. It was a thriller based on an operation to capture some known terrorists in Kenya which quickly escalated into an ethical case. A little girl selling bread by the targeted house was the subject of concern. It was a case of either killing the terrorist and potentially harming the girl or letting them all go.

In below writeup, the first of 2 parts, we would review some of the strong attributes of the protagonist, Colonel Katherine Powell (played by Helen Mirren), that could be helpful in the business world. However, in no way does this write-up support neither does it disapprove of her overall methods. The objective is simply to discuss some of her specific behaviors and draw relevance to business.

Focus and Tenacity.

Colonel Katherine Powell was strongly focused on the objective. She set all her effort and attention on the plan, which was to capture the terrorists. The Colonel had been tenacious on the same targets for up to 6 years. I am sure she would have gone through lots of disappointments, near misses, wrong calls, and all. However, she never gave up. She was waiting for that day when she would hit a hole in one. And finally, that day came. In her words ‘’we have never been this close before’’.

Such tenacity and focus are needed in today’s business world. Sometimes things get tough. That sale may take days to convince the client. That proposal may take a couple of weeks to get a response. Even that plan may take a while to start getting some positive impact. However, if one believes in the dream, is ready to work hard, and is smart towards achieving it, the goal would come one day. Imagine if Colonel Katherine had lost hope in searching for these terrorists. Maybe she could have given up. Imagine if she were not focused on completing the task at hand. It would have led to a deadly outcome.


Colonel Katherine was prepared to adjust the plan when the situation on the ground changed. She was change agile. In addition, she appeared to have even anticipated the potential fluidity of the situation by sending drones to monitor but still carried the Hell-Fire bombs. Even when her team was not so forthcoming, she made deliberate attempts to convince them to change as well.

How many of us have clear objectives in our plan but are very reluctant to change when the situation changes? It is similar to ‘’sunk cost’’ feeling. Sometimes, we could be so fixated on completing a task due to how much resources we had spent on it, that we miss the fact that the goal post had changed. It could also be a situation where we just want to maintain the status quo when the prevailing circumstances have changed. Spencer Johnson, in his 1998 book titled ”Who Moved my Cheese” aptly captured this situation. In that book, some poor mice were still hanging on to their homes when the cheese in the house had finished. The other wise mice had simply moved on in search of more cheese.

No company should continue using a strategy when the prevailing conditions had been altered. Businesses have to constantly innovate and adapt or simply die off and become irrelevant. We have seen lots of businesses that failed to adapt and practically died off due to this. Blackberry Mobile phone failed to adapt to the android age, Kodak films could not move to the digital space, Compaq, the largest PC seller in the 1980s and 1990s failed to compete with Dell.1  All these businesses have become a shadow of themselves today majorly because of their lack of agility.

Bottom line, if a company is not agile, sooner or later, they would have no business to run.

Conclusion of Part 1

Businesses are similar to warfare in a way. Some of the tactics for survival are similar and the objective is to win or survive. Failure could be costly. In the movie, Colonel Katherine exhibited some relatable attributes for a business that is going to excel via focus and agility.

In the concluding part of this series, we would explore two other very important learning from the Colonel herself. We would explore what else it takes to win.

Ikenna Ngonebu #EMBA 27


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