Recently I read an article by Damon Horowitz in which he pleaded that more people who are technology oriented should start a PhD in humanities. And to me he really made his point when he said that our world is in need of “leaders who understand the social and cultural contexts in which our technologies are deployed”. I guess this line resonated with me as I often speak about leadership from what I believe to be a similar perspective.
Let me explain. Today’s society is developing rapidly, to some people so fast that it becomes frightening. And all we talk about is about controlling these (technological) developments, often leading to the strangest situations. I’m thinking here of the example in France where recently a law was proposed – and as it looks now will be passed – which requires new taxi drivers that are coming on the market to let a customer wait out side the car for 15 minutes, all in the name of ‘fair competition’. The old ‘establishment’ trying to regulate the new comers on the market by old means – political lobby and getting a law passed. I guess most of us will find it hard to believe that this is going to work. How can we ever control something like this and maybe more important why should we want to do that in the first place?
I guess the speed of development in our society is not requiring more control. My plea would be to embrace the technological developments in our society and to approach them with wisdom. Wisdom that shows that we understand the social and cultural contexts of our societies, of the world we live in. I do believe that this requires that we learn to appreciate the technological developments in today’s world and acknowledge the good they often bring and at the same time understand that this appreciation can only really take place as long as we inquire into what it means when these developments are introduced into our societies. And finding that balance between technology and the context is what is behind the header of this blog: Leadership and Wisdom in 2014. 2014 will be a demanding year when it comes to truly trying to lead from not only the head but also from the heart, leading from an appreciative leadership perspective. Understanding that leadership in 2014 is requiring more wisdom than ever before!
This blog was written by Joep C. de Jong, IDEIA council member, associate of the TAOS Institute and Managing Director of JLS International BV. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Practioner since 1995 and author of several books and articles on AI.