I was listening to the lastest Harvard Business Review podcast interview of Marcus Buckingham where he outlines an innovative way to provide leadership instruction that his company is working on. It is similar to the algorithmic method used by systems such as Pandora and Netflix to recommend music and movies. But instead of Pandora serving up a song based on what you have liked in the past and your current mood, this system would give you a leadership technique based on the leadership strengths you have shown in the past and the nature of the situation you find yourself in at the moment. Your long term profile is stored in the system and you can describe your current situation in real time. Out pops an idea that history shows usually works in similar situations by people with your leadership profile. Similar technology and software, the trick is developing a leadership "genome."
The system is still early in its development so they have no real-life evidence that it will work. But the research team developing it seems very passionate about the idea and confident that they can implement it. They envision a smartphone under the table while a future Steve Jobs is typing in "how do I get my engineering team on board?" and the system spits out anything from a motivational speech to an incentive sharing plan.
What do you think? Is it possible to model leadership using an algorithm just like Pandora, Netflix, or eHarmony? I suppose it can’t hurt to give someone a possible technique to try. Or maybe a couple of suggestions. But I am not sure I would want a leader to be relying on this as a crutch in a critical situation.