You Can't Beat The System, You Can Only Try

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I spent two days, Saturday & Sunday, reading the October edition of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) cover to cover. The entire 128 pages. The same way I read Economist cover to cover. That is one of the advantages of paying for the newspaper/magazines you have, it doesn't take long for you to decide whether to keep flushing money down the drain or read the publications.

There was a section in the HBR on organizational culture and how people constantly exaggerate their ability to change the system. They found out that in the investment banking world, the top rated industry performers never maintain their top spot when they change company. Much more than their individual genius, is the role of the system/company they work in. 

It is the very thing I tell people who think they can make a change in our political system and government parastatals. It is possible, but as a miracle. Not as a result of predictable and planned work. No matter how individually brilliant you are and your history of great work, you can't beat the system. The best you can do is to try and hope for the miracle. Also be careful to quit before the system breaks you.

It's not just the government institutions and political systems that are unbeatable. Even the system in your workplace. It is better to join a company/system that aligns with your value system than to try to fix a broken system, especially from the middle. You've got to be hired as a turnaround CEO for you to even think you can. Not as some regular staff with managers to report to.


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