Big institutions are in some doubt. Wall Street crashed America, the Russians have infiltrated our election systems, and Intelligence leaders are stonewalling the United States Senate. If you work in an institution, there’s no telling what goes on. I learned that in time inside the walls of a corporation. It’s funny and it’s not.
Three books changed the way I thought about institutions. The first is Build the Fort, a simple and completely effective book on startups, by Chris Heivly. He presents 5 steps to begin a tech-based business and my partner and I used the book to start Lisa Hagan Books. It works, completely. Nan Russell, a management consultant and author of It’s Not About the Time, talked about arranging the arc of your life by passion, not minutes on the clock. In The Coming Financial Crisis, John Truman Wolfe writes of another bankster invasion like the 2008 crash and a way to protect your assets.
I took 5 pieces of wisdom about institutions from these books:
- An institution/corporation speaks the methods of an industry and the culture of that company. Work there, acquire the discipline but don’t internalize the company. It is not a person (despite the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling) and doesn’t have a conscious, so don’t hold on. It won’t. Leave.
- The clock tells you more about passion than time. If you are watching it often, best to make some big adjustments. Use that same formula on your personal life.
- The United States government will fail you. Be extremely conscientious with your wealth. Diversify. If a bank goes belly-up, you will be on the line for anything over $100,000. Doink!
- Your primary focus is to acquire skills that speak to your talents. Use institutions – rather than letting them use you – to learn as much as possible. Take your developed talents and build the work you want.
- Institutions are now hiring in waves and will no doubt be shedding in the near future. Hire, fire seems to be the norm. It’s a bad trip on the merry go-round and if you want to get off, you can. (Institutions suffer as well in the hire-fire model as they reinvent wheels wildly… but that’s their problem.) In your mind, isolate your passion and talent and figure out your business. Start it. Work hard. Put the money in gold or land.
You are the answer. As our trust in institutions hits a new low, a new model might be in order. Maybe as trust slowly returns (and everyone hopes it will!), the promise of #tech – the freedom from cubicle life – will finally be realized. That would be YUuuuge.
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