A Flashlight versus a North Star

Next week, I will once again teach the doctoral course ILD-831 for Creighton University – Technology and Leadership.

I enjoy this course because it pushes me as both a technology advocate and also as a advocate for people-centric leadership.  To experience a bit of the digital world in which these doctoral students now or will lead, I require them to create their own blog and post weekly, rather than utilizing a LMS-based discussion forum.  We’ll also have weekly Twitter discussions using the hashtag #ILD831. These digital avenues open their thoughts weekly to the world wide web, which can lead to some amazing connections.

For this Fall course, I will continue to use Kevin Kelly’s The Inevitable as the main textbook.  Written five years ago, it details 12 technological forces that Kelly view as inevitable in shaping our future.

This fall, I have changed one of the optional books for this course, dropping Aoun’s Robot-Proof (still a good book but out of print) for Pope and Buonfiglio’s (2021) Respect the Weeds: Digital Transformation Rooted in Principled Leadership Vision and Innovation.  I will continue to use Singer and Brooking’s (2018) LikeWar and Westerman et al. (2014) Leading Digital.

We are not yet out of the pandemic, so this is an interesting time to explore the intersection of technology and leadership.  In Respect the Weeds, the authors quote Scott Brinker’s Martec Law:

“Technology changes exponentially, but organizations change logarithmically.”

Which brings me to the title to this post – A Flashlight versus a North Star.  I posted last September about reading Jim Stavridis’s book Sailing True North, using the biographies of ten admirals to discuss leadership traits that help navigate tough times, traits such as:

  • Creativity
  • Resilience
  • Humility
  • Balance
  • Honesty
  • Empathy
  • Justice
  • Decisiveness
  • Determination
  • Perspective

Stavridis saw these traits as providing a clear direction – a North Star – for our personal voyages.  Pope and Buonfiglio offer an alternate metaphor – a flashlight.

They ask:

“Do you need to create a celestial industry vision that shines a light for all to see, or do you just need to provide the visionary flashlight for you and your team to use to cut through the commercial darkness and uncertainly you will doubtless face on your journey together?

An interesting question that I hope our collective views will better illuminate as we journey through ILD-831 for the next eight week!

{Graphics: Watwood, Amazon, Brinker, Wikipedia, Wired}

One thought on “A Flashlight versus a North Star

  1. Hi Britt,

    A celestial industry vision, a visionary flashlight, or both? Too early to even attempt answering but highly thought proking.

    I look forward to the next eight weeks.


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