Today's zombieconomy has been a long time coming. If you've been following our discussions, you saw it rising as early as 2006. The roots of this deep recession are about what zombies lack: consciousness, intelligence, and, at root, wisdom.
America, it was once said, is the richest country in the world. And though Wall St, Washington, and Europe are focused on explodingdeficits and rising debt, both are effects of a deeper cause. We're poor in the single way that counts the most: In terms of institu- tional capital, we're bankrupt. It is institutions that allocate and create mere financial capital — and without better ones, we're learning, prosperity must implode.
There's a simpler way to express institutional capital. It's about wisdom. It is because we've beggared our- selves of wisdom that we're bereft of cash, jobs, and meaning. The scarcest, rarest, and most valuable resource in the world today is wisdom. The coun- tries, companies, and people that possess it will pros- per. In many ways, wisdom is the opposite of strategy — and today, it is strategy, bought by the dozen from legions of besuited, back-slapping consultants, that is cheap, abundant, and worth little.
How large is the economic gap between wisdom and strategy? It begins in the billions. JPMorgan wasn't wise, and now it has to set aside $3 billion in "model- uncertainty reserves." Toyota wasn't wise — and the price of that lack of wisdom is already $10 billion and rising. Think wisdom's warm-and-fuzzy?
Think again. It's as hard-as-nails, and as sharp as a razor.
Here's a nine step plan to go beyond mere strategy and begin bringing a little wisdom into your own organization.
Express. Most organizations have values — vague, boring,
meaningless statements about what's important to...them.
Values, of course, are the basis of strategy. That kind of
megalomaniacal egoecontricity's so 20th century. Wisdom
isn't about what you "value" — it's about how everyone values
you. To get wise, articulate your essence: the change you
want to see in the world. That means literally crafting a
statement of intent about "the world", like Google: "to
organize the world's information and make it universally
Energize. Wisdom doesn't happen by hanging out in the
VIP section and sipping Grey Goose — though the deal-
making of strategy often does. It happens by understanding
the who, why, what, and how of suffering. Do you, or does
your organization spend any time with those who are made
worse off by what you do? Almost none do. But that's the
only source of the most explosive kind of horsepower —
not just physical or intellectual energy, but emotional
and ethical energy.
Channel. Once you're energized, it's time to channel
your energy most productively. How wide is the gap
between the change you want — and the change that
is? Most people, like most organizations, focus on