By Dan Carrison
Each page of Dan Carrison’s From the Bureau to the Boardroom presents lesson from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and its application in the business world. The 30 lessons are distributed over the book’s eight chapters and they range from corporate mission and branding to motivation, teamwork, and planning for the future.
While the author was never a member of the FBI, you would never know it from reading the book (except when he tells you). Rather, he incorporates first-person narratives from agents with his own very readable accounts based on extensive interviews with current and former FBI employees. Some of the stories we may remember as front-page news, and the ones about funerals or kidnappings will likely evoke strong emotions. I was surprised to learn several facts about the FBI:
- The Bureau’s policy is to move agents every two years.
- Agents are usually not the primary breadwinners in their families.
- The mandatory retirement age is 57.
This book is far from the Machiavellian manifesto that I expected it provides useful lessons and applications from years of FBI experience and it expresses them in terms of business situations. Carrison includes the expected lessons about training, communicating, and anticipating situations (visualization) that apply nicely to both FBI and corporate scenarios. However, it also contains some surprising notions, such as not second-guessing your decisions, winning with the tools you have not the ones you wish you had and utilizing flying squads (you will have to get the book to learn more about these quickly mobilized, problem-solving teams!).
Management tools such as business strategies, leadership practices, situational analyses, forecasts, and judgments span the FBI and the corporate worlds. As such, many of us civilians would benefit from the lessons in From the Bureau to the Boardroom. I would recommend this very readable book to anyone who conducts business.