Let’s talk politics. What I’m about to say may make you excited or feel a bit uncomfortable – but just stick with me, I’m going somewhere with this. As of today, August 23rd, 2018, the US President is running the country from a Twitter account. Yup, I said it – a Twitter account. The world’s most powerful military, largest economy, and the planet’s media and technology epicenter – a Twitter account. If someone told you this would be happening 25 years ago, that person would have been hauled away in a straight jacket. Let’s take that a step further: Can it also be said that Donald Trump is the most powerful person in the world (top 10 at least) because of his proficient use of information technology? Surely the technology has played a role in his meteoric rise in politics. But what exactly is that role? and how can you use technology to optimize your Lean Leadership?
What is the Relationship Between Technology and Lean Leadership?
If you finish reading this article and your key takeaway is that technology is a good substitute for bad leadership, then somewhere along the way, I went terribly wrong. Many companies adopt software or Lean methods, believing they will transform the company or take the organization in a new direction. Keep in mind that Lean tools are a type of technology as well. In fact, information technology is little more than methodologies scripted in code.
Leadership sets the direction for an organization. This direction is developed from a cocktail of things like values, beliefs, knowledge, fears, desires, morals, ethics, the law, love, hate, empathy and so many of the very things that make us human. Good leaders are those who are able to drink of this cocktail and not get drunk; but instead use it as fuel to drive others to a better station in life. Bad leaders leave others worse off than where they started.
Technology, including Artificial Intelligence, simply cannot learn these things or be programmed to do so. These emotions guide our learning and development. We learn humility and appreciation through failure and loss. We learn empathy through our own trials and tribulations. We learn love from others as they freely give onto our causes. Technology is not capable of feeling, and therefore is not capable of leading others, who are driven by their feelings above all other things. Technology is not a substitute for Lean Leadership, but it can be used to empower people to carry out their missions more effectively.
The Conflict Between Technology and Lean Leadership
Technology is raw power. Smart leaders develop the skills to harness this power to carry out their agendas. In fact, for the benefit of us all, Lord, let the good leaders win the technology race. Just as with guns, computers, bombs, or any other form of technology, it can be used for good or evil; to build or to destroy; to love or to hate. The same is true for Lean tools and other Continuous Improvement methodologies.
Technology is based in science, which is simply observing the natural order of all things in the universe, including people. The only real conflict between technology and leadership results from ignorance, which is being out of alignment with the universal order. When leaders fail to gain access and develop the capability to harness the potential power of the technology, they are leaving themselves at the mercy of someone who is willing to take advantage. Good leaders have a moral obligation to stay ahead in the technology race. If not, they are bound to succumb to the will of bad leadership; and we will all suffer the consequences.
How to Leverage Technology to Optimize Your Lean Leadership
A Twitter account…huh. I still can’t get over that. Anyway, every one of us knows how it feels when someone else “likes” an idea we shared or a picture we’ve posted. It’s that dose of dopamine that traverses through our bodies when something we shared goes viral. Before you know it, over a thousand people saw and were influenced by an idea that originated from your own mind. There’s no way you could have otherwise reached, inspired, or engaged so many people so easily. Who knows the ripple effect of that simple act of sharing an idea? Who knows what acts of greatness your little post have inspired somewhere on the other side of the planet? This is an example of the power that technology brings.
Leaders often have a natural ability to build trust and engage followers. Technology only magnifies this natural talent so that followers can be engaged on a massive scale. Lean technologies can be used to help people achieve results they otherwise do not have the capability to achieve. Lean Leaders can use technology like Impruver.com to clarify the direction that the company needs to go, provide the tools to overcome obstacles, and influence it to make progress at a faster pace. Technology does not replace the Lean leader, it just makes them more effective in what they’re trying to do.
With that said, one of the most important things a Lean leader can do to optimize their own effectiveness, is stay on the leading edge of technological advancement; especially social tech. Not doing so only precipitates your own demise and all the goodness you stand for.
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