No Win Scenario [HOT]
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Ivan:Yeah, my approach to the no-win scenario. So in business, we are often confronted with problems that seem to be a no-win situation. While I acknowledge sometimes that they, in fact, exist, I really believe there are almost always alternatives that can be explored to find a good result.
So I share this story on my podcast because I truly believe there are almost always options to a no-win situation, if you work hard to find solutions, maybe even push the envelope a bit. For the Star Trek nerds out there, I would Iike to think I passed the Kobiyashi Maru simulation, which half the people listening to this have no idea what I am talking about but it is a no-win scenario that is mentioned several times in Star Trek.
I was reminded of that situation watching the Miami Dolphins defeat the New England Patriots in a very improbable ending last Sunday. The Dolphins made the most of a no-win scenario and won a football game by deploying a play they had worked on in practice.
These are illustrations of no-win scenarios we are all placed in on a daily basis in different walks of life. But working to find a creative solution to the problem is something we as lawyers work on every day.
An Unwinnable Training Simulation may double as an Hidden Purpose Test, often of how the trainees deal with unwinnable situations. If this type of scenario is featured at the beginning of an episode, the character flaw the rest of the episode focuses on will either be the character's own pride or inability to accept that sometimes, crap happens.
Spoilers ahead: If you've worked your way through the flowchart, then you know that it doesn't really matter what path you take. Appropriately, every avenue (except one) ends in failure. The flowchart does give you the option of taking the Captain Kirk route by reprogramming the module into a winning scenario. Is that cheating Maybe. But at least you can say you beat the Kobayashi Maru.
The simulation forces the cadet Captain to make rapid and complex political, moral, and life-altering decisions involving abandonment of the helpless crew of the Maru or risking their own ship to rescue them, all under threat of being attacked by the Klingons and breaking the terms of a peace treaty and risking an interstellar war. Of course, should the cadet attempt to rescue the Maru, the simulation introduces an overwhelming force of Klingon warships that guarantee no chance of winning or surviving. Hence, the no-win scenario.
The 1983 movie WarGames provides a great starting point for the mentality that we must adopt for the first strategy to be effective. In the climatic finale, WOPR, the supercomputer, states that the concept of a nuclear war is \"a strange game\", in which \"the only winning move is not to play.\" [I would offer a spoiler warning, but the movie is 36 years old, I think I am safe!] It is from this that we draw our title, and the fundamental idea behind the first strategy: do not play an unwinnable game. How easy it is to get caught up inside our heads, battling a scenario or problem back and forth, and making no new ground. It is this exact scenario, be it at 2AM lying in bed, or 2PM in the office, that we must avoid falling into. There is a great deal of strength in a genuine brainstorm to try and solve a problem, but much like WOPR, once we have run all the (so-to-speak) simulations, if the answer has not presented itself, you must learn to take a step back. Effort applied pointlessly for the sake of feeling like you have tried, is a dangerous fallacy. Too often is the notion of an unbreakable spirit, that persevered through hell and back like a glorified Hollywood movie hero, commonplace attitude in the work place. The best in business know that \"neither will alone, nor strength alone will be enough\" (Lacus Clyne) to accomplish their goals and solve problems. It takes a dedicated and directed effort to solve the plethora of business problems that anyone encounters; mindlessly bashing your head into a problem will not solve it.
Captain Michael Burnham's (Sonequa Martin-Green) heroics in the Star Trek: Discovery season 4 premiere show that she doesn't believe in the no-win scenario; however, her approach is fundamentally different from that of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), who also famously didn't believe in accepting such a scenario. Captain Burnham is tested in Star Trek: Discovery's season 4 premiere when she risks her own life to rescue people trapped in a space station, including Lt. Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) and Ensign Adira Tal (Blu del Barrio). This is compared to the Kobayashi Maru test, which in Star Trek lore is best associated with Kirk, who \"won\" the unwinnable simulation.
Star Trek introduced the intriguing concept of the no-win scenario in the form of the Kobayashi Maru test in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The Kobayashi Maru is a simulation that cadets who hope to command a starship take at Starfleet Academy; it presents a scenario involving the rescue of a freighter while the ship is attacked by Klingons. There is no way to beat the test without everyone on the crew getting killed. The Kobayashi Maru is a test of character and teaches prospective Captains that there are situations beyond their control. However, Cadet Jim Kirk beat the Kobayashi Maru exam by reprogramming the simulation so he could win. Although Kirk cheated, he got a commendation for innovative thinking. In the alternate Kelvin timeline of J.J. Abrams Star Trek 2009 movie, Kirk (Chris Pine) also cheated to beat the Kobayashi Maru.
The Kobayashi Maru test is referenced in Star Trek: Discovery's season 4 premiere. Although Captain Burnham saved most of the people on the space station, there were a few deaths that she takes responsibility for. Burnham's heroics are questioned by the new Federation President, Laira Rillak (Chelah Horsdal), who came aboard the USS Discovery as an observer. The President admonished the Kirk-like Captain Burnham for her risk-taking, noting that, even though she did succeed in her mission, she got by on pure luck. While it's commendable Burnham refused the idea that she couldn't save anyone, her methods are \"huge swings of the pendulum.\" But Michael doesn't believe in the no-win scenario any more than Captain Kirk did, and she has no problem accepting the \"pyrrhic victory\" the Kobayashi Maru trains Starfleet Officers to avoid.
Unlike Captain Kirk before Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, however, Michael Burnham had already faced a no-win scenario. Star Trek: Discovery began with Michael's huge mistake that instigated the Klingon War of 2256 and her attempt to correct her error resulted in the death of her Captain, Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), and ended with Burnham imprisoned as Starfleet's first mutineer. Michael has since gained absolution and she went on to save the galaxy twice a thousand years apart, which ultimately earned her the Captaincy of the Discovery. So because Burnham has already failed a no-win scenario and paid the price, she has become fearless is putting her abilities to the test so that Michael and the Discovery's crew can accomplish the impossible.
For his part, Captain Kirk admits that he never truly faced a no-win scenario before he battled Khan (Ricardo Montalbán) in Star Trek II. Kirk has always prided himself on \"rushing in where angels fear to tread\" and pulling off miraculous feats to save the galaxy. But Spock (Leonard Nimoy) sacrificing himself to save the Starship Enterprise from Khan finally forced Kirk to face the no-win scenario he avoided ever since Starfleet Academy. Before Spock's death, Kirk simply felt the 'rules' didn't apply to him and he had the luxury of not believing in the no-win scenario. In Star Trek II, Kirk finally learned the lesson that Michael Burnham learned the hard way at the Battle at the Binary Stars in Star Trek: Discovery season 1.
Being defeated by their respective no-win scenarios made Burnham and Kirk better Captains. Yet they both will still take whatever risk is necessary to accomplish their mission. While the Kobayashi Maru may train Starfleet Officers to be prudent Captains, strict adherence to the test's lessons doesn't make for an exciting lead character of a Star Trek series. Indeed, facing no-win scenarios is part of being a Star Trek Captain, but Kirk also goes by the philosophy that \"risk is our business.\" Thankfully, Star Trek: Discovery's Captain Burnham believes this as well. 1e1e36bf2d