Chapters 13 & 14
Big Conceptual Challenges

An overnight journey takes Marcus and Grand Master Alf to the city of New Populonium where they join the earnest intellectuals of the Intergalactic Think Tank. Here Marcus learns how to apply the big thinking challenges of ‘purpose and meaning’, ‘possibilities’ and ‘truth’ to the business world.

This strong conceptual grounding enables Marcus to get a clear picture of the fundamental purpose of all organisations, how to break free from restrictive assumptions and he appreciates how difficult it is to discern what is a real fact and what is an opinion in the business world.

The encounter with the master thinkers puts his quest into a wider context, and gives him some of the mental discipline he needs later on to be able to distil the ten rules.

He was standing in a room torn out of history. Leather bound books peered out from behind glass fronted cabinets and the walls scowled with large, dark oil paintings of noble families in foolishly frilly clothes ... Marcus navigated his way around brass edged display cabinets ... as he walked stray pieces of paper fluttered around his legs like autumn leaves.
Several people clustered around a wooden table ... Hector Foxtrot fixed Marcus with a stare that suggested a test was coming and said, “Ask us a question.”
“How do you go about thinking?”
“Bad question,” shot back Mohoar, the shortest, most rotund person. “Ask again.”
“What should I do to go about thinking?” offered Marcus
“Another bad question,” chorused several of the band. “Try again,” they entreated in unison.
“Why are you - the most farsighted group in the universe - in the most low tech, old fashioned room ever?” challenged Marcus, partly in frustration, but mostly because he did not know what else to ask.
“Good question,” confirmed Hector. Several others nodded.

“... when you ‘begin at the end’ you need something more fundamental than a profit statement. Something every organisation has in common ... something truly at the other end of the process.”

“This weakness is further compounded,” added Mohoar, “when we apply a concept like truth to information in business. There is no standard way to indicate if the assertions made are based on robust and well researched information.”