As I've mentioned in other venues, the current state of the American economy is going south, and it's claiming some business ventures. One of them is the insurance career that I began seven months ago, with extremely high hopes and enormous confidence. Now I'm looking for new opportunities.
One of the things to which I keep returning is that nearly forty years in wargaming, with a lifelong interest and education in military history, has to amount to something of value to business. On top of that I have an Master's Degree in political science from Duquesne University
, a rather respected institution especially in this region, so it's more than a matter of saying that I like taught myself and stuff by watching TV.
I noticed one negative trend though when I worked in a corporate restructuring project for a local financial services company, and it was a serious parochialism. Pittsburgh's business culture can be bad enough in that way; I firmly believe that if a Pittsburgh business person does something different today than he did yesterday, then he feels a compulsion to to go Confession for it. People do not adapt easily, and when times go bad they would rather pine for the Good Old Days to come back than to change in order to create something new and possibly even better.
Connected with that, there were many people, smart and educated too, who had a hard time looking beyond there comfort zone for inspiration. We faced some serious challenges, and there were some who would look at them narrowly as numbers games, or problems to be met through meetings and more meetings.
During this time I probably added to my reputation for being from some other planet by saying something like "Alexander the Great had similar problem with succession planning and look what happened..." or by invoking the example of Peter the Great in a Human Resources context. One colleague talked about mergers and acquisitions as a way to avoid a hostile takeover of our own bank; I saw a parallel with George Keenan's theory of containment of Soviet expansionism, validated by the happy end of the Cold War.
Admittedly, I was a little out of place in what was an all-star team of the corporation's best and brightest, especially as they tended to have MBA's, and my graduate degree was missing that all-important B in the middle. In addition, I was promoted from a smaller department that had had its share of management problems, and which I was thrilled to escape.
The whole time I was there, and in fact throughout my worklife, I have been repeatedly struck by the both the applicability of the lessons of military and political history to business, and the sad fact that many business professionals tend to ignore them. Maybe it's because they're uncomfortable with the subject, as war is a dirty business (though I've seen ethical lapses in the private sector that would disgrace the mafia), lack of knowledge, or just comfort with the familiar, but it seems that many executives do not tap into a reservoir of historical experience that could enhance their ultimate victory condition - which is putting money into pockets.
Therefore I am giving some serious consideration to reaching out to the business community as a speaker and consultant, teaching that the lessons of yesterday's wars are fully applicable to the problems of today's commerce. Connected with that, I have some ideas for articles that I'll probably write before long; I'll put them in the queue along with my game development and Line of Departure