Dr. Ichak Adizes leads us through an evolutionary journey from pre-human times up to today. He looks at what qualities and attributes leaders have needed, and he predicts why, in the future, it will be the heart.
In order to predict the future of management, we need to predict the future. Then, in order to predict the future we must understand the past, whether it projects itself into the future or is there some discontinuity or major disruption from the past into the future.
Let’s take a look at the big picture of the past to see whether it predicts in any shape or form the future.
At the beginning, according to Darwin, we were chimpanzees, and the strongest chimpanzee was a leader. Then we became a nomadic society, and the best hunter was the leader. Then we settled and became an agricultural society. The person with the most sheep, cows, or lambs was a leader. The common denominator is whoever was the strongest and had the most possessions was the leader. This mindset gave birth to early empire builders that tried to expand their empires to be as big as possible because bigness was considered greatness.
Then came the Industrial Revolution and the brain took the front place in determining leadership and success. The industrial society needed to plan, organize, hire, fire, budget and sell. Success in the industrial society was based on having both muscles and brains. That’s what the colonialists, the Germans, the British, and the French of the 19th century had and used: administrative systems and military strength.
We are now at the beginning of a new major transition in the history of humanity. The information society, where our brain is the most important factor for success. Muscle is outsourced. Look at Israel. No mineral resources. No power. Sixty percent of the country is desert. And it is nevertheless an economic powerhouse. What does it have? Brain power. The largest hotel in the world does not own one hotel. It has a computer, information, and the capability to manipulate information. That’s called an Airbnb. The largest transportation company in the world does not own one car. It has a computer, information, and capability to manage information and it’s called Uber. What do Google, Amazon and Facebook do if not accumulate data with the capability to handle information successfully?
I believe it should be the heart, to be able to integrate, to feel and share.
It will be needed more than ever because the rate of change
and the disparity in income, education and capabilities between the haves
and have-nots is going to endanger a lot of businesses and a lot of countries.
Where do we go from here?
There is already the beginning trend to replace the brain. Artificial intelligence and quantum computers are going to replace the human brain. We will rely on them to make decisions for us. What are the repercussions of this change? Those that know how to use quantum computing and artificial intelligence and how to capitalize on it are going to be richer than those that don’t know how to do that. Those that know how to digitize their company, use robotics and artificial intelligence are going to dominate the market and the rest are going to become of marginal importance. The result? There’s going to be even a bigger disparity of income, which already exists today between the haves and have-nots. That might create a significant amount of social and political unrest.
What’s going to come after the brain? We already moved from muscle to brain.What is the next step? What is the next development?
I believe it should be the heart, to be able to integrate, to feel and share. It will be needed more than ever because the rate of change and the disparity in income, education and capabilities between the haves and have-nots is going to endanger a lot of businesses and a lot of countries. The one who’ll know how to keep the country, the company, and the family together will survive. The others will fall apart.
Integration should be the future driving force. And for that, we need not only to think but also to feel. That may explain the rise of women to top leadership positions. Integration is their modus vivendi and has been for generations with integrating the family.
If we don’t develop the capability to integrate and work with the heart, if we continue working on developing power, such as nuclear armaments, and developing our brains with Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing, our future might be a repetition of the past. It is called Nazi Germany. The Nazis had culture, literature, music, art, and power, but no heart. Without heart, that will be the end of humanity.
What we need is integration through the heart,
through values, through sensitivity to the human element
through caring for each other.
I believe we should start working now in our education system, training on developing integration capabilities, developing sensitivity, and developing being human.
Integration can be done two ways: mechanistically or organically. Mechanistically is through manuals, through rules, through law, through the judicial system. That is to say, big bureaucracy. This solution suffocates countries, suffocates innovation, suffocates the human spirit. That’s what happened to Europe, with the big bureaucracy in Brussels. The unification of Europe through thousands of pages of regulations.
What we need is integration through the heart, through values, through sensitivity to the human element, through caring for each other. If we don’t develop that, we are doomed as a society. We are doomed as human beings.