In my career as a consultant, I have all kinds of opportunities to interact with different personality types at different levels of organizations. Some of these are of the kind that might make others feel that life is not worth living, but the advantage of consultancy is that my involvements are focused, short, and generally sweet, and then I leave the office dramas behind for a quick dip into the next kiln of opportunity. I am like a merry mercenary in that way, unexposed to the daily grind of the organizations with which I work.

Staff people, on the other hand, are subject to hierarchical structures and personality profiles, and their critical path issue is: a) whether or not to stay in the roles they are in, given the odds of rising up to a more satisfying position within the organization; or b) to cast their fates to wind, which is the job market.

So much of life happens at the initial sell-in. I like lots of these because as an independent contractor one is leveraging personality, experience and skill sets, and one’s future success rides on one’s recent track record. I feel pretty good about myself in all of those regards and working on a project basis creates cascading opportunities to repeat this sell-in phase. The whole cycle forces one to excel, with the benefit that if worked right one may then take advantage of whatever momentum this creates. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and so some consultancies thrive.

Consultants have the advantage of being able to offer the client the precise solution (within one’s range) that is required, and one can reposition one’s self and one’s approach relative to the various circumstances. Consulting, in my experience, is all about assessing client needs and plugging in where possible to offer solutions that move their programs forward.

A lot of any game is perception.

This squishy concept becomes particularly compelling when one feels the impact it has on human affairs in the workplace.

I constantly come into contact with people in organizations who know their stuff and have visionary forward-thinking ideas but wilt on the vine because some dynamic within their company prevents them from carrying the day.

Typically decision makers higher up the chain of command will opt to seek their own solutions, usually from some other outside source providing a set of perceptions that meet their own decision-making parameters. They tend to trust the sell-in from the entity they may or may not know more than they trust the steady presence of the in-house “expert” they do know. This is often destructive to the cohesion of an organization (duh).

We need a revolution in the way we work that creates and stimulates a culture of innovation and responsibility.

Based on my experience, we need to use public policy and government-supported programs to help bright people become empowered to break out of the constraints of repressive work situations to become contributors to progressive solutions.

We need lots of vital, intellectually-stimulated small businesses working to provide ideas for energy efficiency, climate control, water resources, food production, and international commerce, to name a few important areas.

Even more than that, we need to promote the development of communications expertise that will bridge the gap between narrow-range short-term interests and those higher purposes that must be met to continue life on this planet.

We probably need to take the approach to the corporatization of the world that the Republicans in the U.S. have taken toward the Federal Government, which is to starve it at its roots. Smart individuals should weigh their futures as corporate beings, consider their ethical foundations, and find the courage to strike out on their own paths of career development.

The intellectual muscle of the global population should not be funneled into monopolistic super corporations that will not use it to meet the world’s basic requirements because they are more compelled to protect turf and meet the demands of their stockholders.

Rick Alan Rice (RAR) is the Publisher of and the Revolution Culture Journal. He is also a consultant in the Architecture & Engineering and Information Technology industries. See Rick A Rice Consulting.