You may have seen me geek out about the future and how automation and AI will shape the future of health and the future of teaching. I’ve recently been asked though to predict the future of strategy.
For me, there is one question that underpins the role of humans in business strategy in the future.
Are we rational beings or emotional beings who rationalise?
Think about that, I’ve got a law degree, an MBA, the IOSH, a maths A-level, and an Economics A-Level. I’ve spent decades around big data and population health/achievement/crime and disorder. Of course, I’m rational. I can crunch the numbers, I can identify a course of action that’s likely to succeed, I can scan and read the environment.
But rational = at risk. Rational implies logic implies machine learning.
More than that, holding onto that sense of rationality may meet the needs of some leaders but underplays everything else that I do.
I listen to more than words, I observe behaviour and question motives before speaking, I read a room and respond.
I am creative, I weave together knowledge and connections that transcend continents and time. I often seek without an agenda and collect to serve.
I invest in relationships to uplift others and create a safe environment for people to express themselves and to thrive. I help others to grow so that I may learn and grow. I am curious and nurture connection on multiple levels – tapping into hearts and minds through my storytelling.
I care and often put the needs of others ahead of my own and in so doing felt good and built value that ripples out beyond me. I hold a space where others can criticise, challenge I connect to a greater power – the power of good, the power of purpose and that helps me to sustain my own motivation and that around me. I use that to find and forge new networks and partnerships that accelerate our goals. I can judge others’ priorities and demands to negotiate when needed – to give and to take with progress as an ultimate aim.
I am curious and playful with ideas, with people, with objects around me. I look at my surroundings with a childlike wonder and appreciation that helps me to learn, to question, and to adapt my own practices.
In the drive for efficiency, we’ve made the process and rational thought supreme, which has led us to believe that we are more in control of our actions and those around us than we truly are. We celebrate our innovations without often recognising all of the factors that brought success.
So, will managers be automated? Some might, there’s no doubting that. More risk being automated because we don’t really understand all of the factors at play. For me, as a business mentor and coach, I’m advocating for more and more leaders to understand the added (human) value that they offer to the system they work in – both to build skills and confidence and to prepare for the future.
Am I scared about the future?
Not at all, I’m excited because technology and machine learning open up an additional intelligence or voice in the room that can support leaders. Leaders who increasingly listen to their gut or intuition, who reach out to nurture networks and invest in safe and creative workspaces that promote collaboration and innovation. The future is certainly bright!