Great Leaders Know When And How To Deploy The Next Technology

Unless you’ve been on a social media/internet detox for the last six months, you’ve no doubt noticed this thing called generative AI. It has triggered a hype cycle the likes of which have not been seen since the launch of the McRib. Every article on my LinkedIn, every session at every conference, every report that releases from every research company is here to tell you what you should know, and why you should drop everything right now and pay attention to it. But I’m not going to write about it.

Why not? Am I not an analyst? Should I not be earning my handsome salary (as my father would say) writing about the impact of generative AI on my coverage area? Well, let’s start there. I cover leadership; learning; culture; diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB); and organizational transformation (otherwise known as change).

Won’t generative AI have an impact on those things? Sure, but here’s the thing …

Leadership Is Not About Getting Lost In Each New Technology

The most important job that a leader has is building resilience, trust, and execution capability on their team. If leaders are doing their jobs well, their teams and organizations will have the tools and resources to evaluate new innovations. They won’t be subsumed by the hype but rather ready to put new technology into practice when the time is right. This is done through fostering a learning culture that creates space and psychological safety to test and learn with new tools. Good leaders keep the vision and the customer at the center, empowering individuals to decide for themselves what value the shiny thing of the day has for them and their work. And here’s the other thing …

Most Leaders Already Lack The Support That They Need To Do These (Very Hard) Things

On average, companies spend less than $2,500 per leader per year on leadership development, resulting in a high percentage of team, department, and organizational managers who don’t have the tools and resources they need to be excellent. Many leaders are also buried in execution work, compressing the time they spend on supporting their teams to the bare minimum. These challenges, more so than that of generative AI, are a threat to your business’s ability to survive and thrive in a complex world.

Does generative AI matter? Absolutely. But it is one of many things that leaders are juggling in a turbulent world. So while loads of my technically savvy analyst colleagues should and will cover generative AI in great detail, expect my next report to be different from theirs, covering how to be a leader who can lead this technology cycle as well as the next one, not because you understand the technology better than anyone else but because you have the leadership chops — developing high-performing teams, building resilience, and fostering learning culture — that will make all your ambitions, including those inspired by generative AI, realizable.