Category Archives: Floreat Complexity Challenge

Floreat Complexity Challenge – Answer to Week 6

Check out the challenge for Zone 6 here.

time&spaceA Zone 6 answer is a thing of great beauty and very rare indeed!

Answer C comes the closest of those indicated as it starting to sketch out a realistic vision for the future. As you can imagine, the challenge in putting forth a viable plan at Zone 6, not to mention defending and altering that plan through the role play scenario would be very difficult:

C.It’s now many years into the future – some things are different yet some stay the same. The passing of peak oil and continual threats and disasters afflicting low-lying metropolitan areas in most countries, forced the hand of many governments to switch permanently from fossil fuels. The result has been a spectacular rise of a handful of innovative organisations who’ve managed to produce clean energy cheaply from a variety of sources including by-products of the traditional energy producers, plants and the natural environment. And yet while these advances have been made, less developed countries continue to rely on fossil fuels and have taken advantage of traditional machinery and infrastructure of companies and countries that no longer use it. The result is increasing disparity – not only in relation to incomes and economic efficiency, but also living and environmental standards.

If you’d like to challenge yourself and gain valuable insights into your leadership potential, please contact us to find out more.  

Floreat Complexity Challenge – Week 6

Answer to Week 5

B. BtoB’s market is currently Australia but it doesn’t necessarily need to be so. Australia’s reliance on fossil fuels is going to continue at least for the next 15 years, but beyond that, other energy sources will need to be found. It’s likely new sources of energy will come from Africa and Russia and they have large, growing and young populations. They will need energy for powering growing middle classes but you’d also expect political instability as these populations gain more power through higher incomes and start demanding more responsive and transparent government. A strategy that allows BtoB to take advantage of these trends would be wise.

This answer comes closest to the pure thinking at Zone 5. Zone 5 is about anticipating long-term relationships between major systems as they may affect the strategic direction of the organisation.

Week 6 Case Study*

*You can check out the background and our description of the Zones here.  Last week’s challenge is here.

IC342BHaving found a way to match both projects with funding, the Russian and Nigerian energy projects are well underway with billions already invested, and the first returns on investments are expected in the next 12 months. A breaking story that could have a big impact on your business is about a company that’s making big advances in an initiative to commercialise space travel. With a vision to create a unique leisure travel option for the wealthy, all the business needs is an energy source that can keep the cost of flights at reasonable levels.

As the new Managing Director of BtoB, your board is anxious to know your plans for the future of the organisation over the next 20 years.

Challenge question: What entirely different ways of conducting the business might emerge over the coming 10-20 years? 

Floreat Complexity Challenge – Week 5

Answer to Week 4

B. This shows the dangers and opportunities in social media. A small group of disgruntled people are able to make the head of BtoB very nervous. BtoB could be using social media to attract potential investors and funding recipients, and could try a positive campaign. In the future, the business model of BtoB could be disrupted and dictated to because of information becoming more freely available and smaller interest groups able to access it & gain power from it.

At Zone 4, we are looking for evidence of thinking about the “implications” of variables that are evident in the case study, but that play out over a long time-frame. What this means is that we aren’t looking for what causes something to happen, but how those causes play out into the unknown (the future). This response is forward-looking in that it recognises a current trend and extrapolates that trend into the future, linking the trend back to BtoB and its business options.

Week 5 Case Study*

*You can check out the background and our description of the Zones here.  Last week’s challenge is here.


BtoB has narrowly avoided obliteration through some desperate lobbying by you the GM and by your loyal customers. Under intense media pressure, PTwhy’s Mr Jones Snr steps down and ProSuccess (having secured funding from PTwhy through the final BtoB funding round) continue to gather momentum in the market with their procurement software.

While sourcing funding applications and investors for the second round, you come across a couple of interesting opportunities – both are verified as legitimate. A Russian oil billionaire has got wind of your unique funding model and would like to roll-out the same thing in her own country – focusing on the oil sector. A second opportunity is from a contact working in Nigeria who believes your model could meet with some success there. In Nigeria, there are already investors who are looking for good ideas to support the expansion of the resources sector.

Both the Russian and Nigerian opportunities can’t wait too long for an answer as there are other outfits lining up to get involved.

Challenge question: how might changing interactions between major systems affect the organisation in the long term? 

Floreat Complexity Challenge – Week 4

Answer to Week 3

B.            This is more of the same – the mining sector is full of these conflicts and the root of it all is money. The pressure to make money is powerful and often clouds people’s judgement even if they’re making a decision that’s clearly wrong. Because of this I think there are problems with how closely the government regulates this sector – the laws around conflicts are too lax. BtoB is taking advantage of shoddy practices & my prediction is it will come back to haunt them.

This response is typical of a Zone 3 ‘pure thinking’ answer. In particular, the respondent talks about the cause and effect relationships going on in the scenario and has suggested the regulatory framework as leading to a more localised problem of BtoB’s corporate behaviour.

Week 4 – Case Study*

*You can check out the background and our description of the Zones here.  Last week’s challenge is here.


ProSuccess go through to the final stage and, after some internal wrangling on the board, are awarded funding from PTwhy to take forward their procurement idea into full commercialisation.

Things seem to be going well – ProSuccess have managed to secure a major mining client and your focus, as GM of BtoB, is shifting to finding potential applicants for the next funding round.

Then disaster strikes.

An article appears in the Financial Times linking Mr Jones Snr, the head of PTwhy, to various irregular property transactions while head of the Minerals Department. The article also mentions the link between a former BtoB funding applicant – Minescan – and Mr Jones Snr.

Jane Carrow of ProSuccess is furious as unsuccessful funding applicants are gathering support through a negative Facebook campaign to overturn all decisions of BtoB involving PTwhy and Mr Jones Snr with some saying BtoB itself should be shut down.

Jane Carrow has asked for an urgent meeting to hear what you are going to do.

Challenge question: what are the implications in this scenario for BtoB and companies like it? 

Floreat Complexity Challenge – Week 3

Answer to Week 2

D.            B & C

Both of these responses are typical of a Zone 2 ‘pure thinking’ answer because they are starting to interpret the information given, not just describe it (description is the threshold requirement for Zone 1). You’ll notice that both answers come to different conclusions – that’s fine, we never look for a ‘correct’ answer, but we are concerned with the thinking that has lead to an answer.

Week 3 – Case Study*

AD1819*You can check out the background and our description of the Zones here.  Last week’s challenge is here.

Having talked to Ms Carrow (ProSuccess proprietor) about her business idea & reviewed her plans and financial projections, you decide to recommend to the BtoB board that ProSuccess progresses to the final stage of applicants for investor funding. This means that ProSuccess can present its case to potential investors. (The funding model is designed in order that around half of the businesses which progress to the final stage actually get funding).

ProSuccess will be joined in the final stage by another IT start-up servicing the resources sector – “MineScan”. MineScan’s main offering is an IT platform able to sift through enormous quantities of data in order to support the identification of new coal deposits. This company is headed by the son (Mr Jones Jnr) of the former head of the Minerals Department (Mr Jones Snr) – the same person who fronts PTwhy, one of your main investors. Your company policies specifically prohibit members of BtoB staff (including you) of being associated with people (for example, close family members) who submit applications for investor funding, but there is nothing in your internal policies specifically stopping the son of a person associated with an investor, receiving funding from that investor.

Nevertheless, after hearing industry gossip about the matter in the papers, a representative of the corporate regulator has asked to meet you, the General Manager of BtoB.

Challenge questionwhat are the underlying issues that this scenario presents for companies like BtoB? What alternative ways are there of looking at the challenges presented here?  

Floreat Complexity Challenge – Week 2

Answer to Week 1

A. There’s lots going on here – the company can’t find financial backers and senior staff are jumping ship. You could explore community funding or some type of government assistance.

This answer is typical of ‘pure thinking’ at Zone 1, describing the situation without going into analysis. Some options are provided to contain an immediate and pressing problem. Answer B referred to organisational culture, going beyond the facts presented and – while not a complete answer – is an example of the type of thinking necessary for higher zones.

Week 2 – Case Study*


The situation for BtoB has stabilised somewhat. An investor has been found in the form of “PTwhy”, a conglomerate made up of several different mining and financial interests. PTwhy is fronted by a former head of the state government Minerals Department and is well connected. The reason for their interest in BtoB remains somewhat mysterious.

BtoB has been courting a start up company that provides internal procurement systems to the mining sector “ProSuccess”. It competes with other very big players and has been getting interest from large mining groups. The only problem is, ProSuccess is a one-person operation. If it takes off, it will need a team to do all the work.

As General Manager of BtoB, you’ve called in the head of ProSuccess to discuss her business plan.

*You can check out the background and our description of the Zones here.  Last week’s challenge is here.

Challenge questionprovide your analysis of what’s happening here. What are your immediate priorities? 

Floreat Complexity Challenge – Week 1

IMG_20140211_135833 (2)How does this work?

Floreat Consulting Australia specialises in identifying, developing and retaining talent. To give you an idea of how we do this, we’ve devised the Floreat Complexity Challenge.

Each week, we will set a short multiple choice challenge for a case study that we’d typically use during a talent identification conversation using Talentfinder. Each Wednesday we’ll publish the results of the previous week’s challenge and provide some details on why we scored the answers like we did. We suggest you read over our Identifying talent page before you start just to get a feel for how this works.

Watch out for next week’s post “Floreat Complexity Challenge – Week 2” where we’ll reveal the answer for Week 1 and provide the Week 2 challenge.

Week 1 – Case Study 

The business outlook is pretty grim. The government is laying off thousands of public servants & your company “” is suffering like many others. Last week 3 out of your 4 senior managers left the company! BtoB is an e-commerce company specialising in linking start-up companies in the business to business market with investor capital. The problem is, while you have many willing start-ups, capital is becoming very hard to find. As the General Manager, you’ve had to lay off 10 staff already this week – not enjoyable under any circumstances but a big deal in  your friendly and – until recently – high-performing company.  

Challenge question: what is your description of the problem here and what immediate options are there?