Leadership Development in the Age of the Algorithm

Now and then a book or paper comes along that supports one or more of the basic tenets of Time Management 2.0, the philosophy that underlies the work we do here at 2Time Labs. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review offers some similar ideas that we believe are coming from a very similar place.

The article, “Leadership Development in the Age of the Algorithm” was written by Marcus Buckingham and published in the June 2012 issue. It espouses the idea that leadership is a complex activity that cannot be reduced to a simple set of “best-practices.” It states the problem in this way:

As the personalization of content delivery becomes increasingly pervasive, it might even be that you begin to notice it most when it is absent–when there is a setting in which you should be identifiable as an individual, yet the information presented to you is strangely undifferentiated. I’ve noticed such a setting: your leadership development program.

Well, here at 2Time Labs have noticed another such setting: your time management / productivity program!

The article continues:

“Even a decade after leadership training began to recognize different styles and strengths, and even in organizations that have made cultivating high-potential talen a priority, the content served up is generic.”

Generic formulas are the bread and butter of all the time management books I have read up until now, hence the similarity between this article and what we have been saying. It’s only amazing that so few others are saying the same thing in a discipline (time management) that is much easier to quantity and observe than “leadership.”

Near the end of the article he says:

That old model of leadership development, the formulaic model, has an appealing simplicity, but it runs afoul of two realities: Each leder also leads differently, and the techniques used by one don’t necessarily translate to another.

(He calls this a problem of scale, just like we do.)

He imagines a future:

Soon there will be a place, somewhere in the cloud, that cotinually gathers the best techniques, tips, and pactical innvoations from high-performing leaders around the world; sorts them… ; feed you the techniques that fit you best… It will be your own personal leadership coach.

We can’t wait!

There are other points of similarity that he mentions and I strongly recommend the article if the ideas at 2Time Labs have resonated with you at all.  Let us know in the comments if you get a chance to read the article, and what you think.