To Think or Not To Think

Lance Accountability, Ideas, Leadership Leave a Comment

From Simon Sinek’s latest book, Leaders Eat Last:

 It is strange indeed how traditional, top-down organizational management aims to train people to follow procedures and not think for themselves even as the quest for computer AI (artificial intelligence) strives to teach machines to do the opposite – think for itself and not follow scripted programming.

People can’t be accountable for the decisions they didn’t make. When everyone is simply “following orders,” no one is responsible for the consequences of those orders being followed … until they are.

Once upon a time, information was scarce and travelled slowly. The only people in an organization who could get access to enough of it to make sound decisions were those at the top. But we don’t live in that world anymore. Because information is now ubiquitous and instantaneous, no CEO, VP, or Director can hope to know as much as fast as the people who populate the organization beneath them.

Instead of consolidating authority, decision-making should be dispersed down and as close to the real knowledge of what’s going on as possible. Instead of unifying decision making authority as a means for keeping everyone moving in the same direction, the modern leader uses a unifying vision and consistent culture. Instead of robotic people and thinking machines, this new age demands thinking people … and maybe some thinking machines too.