3 Critical Leadership Lessons to Learn from Driverless Car Technology

Driving is expected to change radically beginning about 2020.  What will your reaction be?  Will you be a leader in this revolutionary change or will you be a follower or maybe even a resister of radical change?

Toyota recently announced that they plan to launch their new “automated operation” by 2020. The Google Car is also deep into development, as are other manufacturers around the globe.  But placing a date on the release of this new product takes it from the lab into the showrooms.  It is no longer a dream (or for some a nightmare) but now a reality. 

It is made possible because of three critical technologies that allow inanimate objects to take the lead for us.  Each of those technologies offer a lesson for leading in the 3D World.

Driving Intelligence

First, driverless technology has a Driving Intelligence which allows the computer to predict situations and react in time to keep everyone safe.  They call this advanced recognition and predictive decision-making functions.

As leaders, our charge is to anticipate what will happen next so we can react in time.  Driving is the same way, it is all about anticipation.  Yet many people in leadership positions fail to anticipate because they are looking back, expecting the smooth ride of the past to continue uninterrupted.  They constantly react instead of proactively anticipate.    Leaders must anticipate future problems quickly and strategically to maintain safety for everyone.

Connected intelligence

Second, it has a Connected intelligence which communicates from vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure. Anticipating problems is often only possible when there is constant communication.

RadicalChangeAs leaders, our value is seen most when we can connect the essential parts of the project and organization to facilitate progress.  We fully understand that any breakdown can be fatal. Yet many communicate only one way, speaking and not listening.  Imagine the possibilities when there is real time communication not only within your organization but also with competitors, analysts and the general public.

Interactive intelligence

Third, it has an Interactive intelligence that recognizes the situation and transfers control between the driver and the car.

Maintaining control is the Achilles heel of many leaders.  They fight it, choosing to micromanage because they think they know best.  The same will happen in driverless cars.  Many will resist because they demand the control they have been accustomed to.  After all, isn’t that the fun of driving?  the fun of leading?

But as leaders in what I call the 3D world, we are wise to relinquish some control to ensure the radical progress that is possible.  In letting go of control, we allow what we perceive as mindless machines (i.e. followers) to become a valued parts of the team that allows us to do far more than we could have otherwise.  We no longer have to watch every movement, fearing our demise while performing a rather basic function. Instead, we will enjoy improved performance, production and profits for ourselves and for the entire team because all are free to collaborate and create instead of simply replicate. 

Make no mistake, this technology will change the nature of driving. Some of these features are already employed.  In the same way, these principles will change the nature of leading.  They already have but will become even more prevalent in the 3D world that is built on trust and sharing.  It is a disruptive technology and leadership approach.  It is a radical shift that some will welcome while others vehemently resist.  Those that resist will do so because they refuse to give up control, claiming they don’t trust the technology or don’t see the results.  Some won’t want to give up the perceived privileges of driving themselves while others will demand that driving is their right.

But, in the end, the new technology will prevail because it provides far more benefits than we currently employ.  When that happens, those refusing to relinquish control will be perceived as a problem of the past, not the promising prospects  for the future. 

In the end, it is your choice how you interact with new technology.

3D PWR Tip: Leverage You Power by Anticipating the Rapid and Radical Change

(c) 2015 Murfield International, Inc.

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Dr. Loren Murfield works with aspiring and emerging leaders so they can leverage their power to do what followers and critics think is impossible. This often involves working with them to develop their disruptive ideas and write their stories of rapid and radical change. How could you leverage your leadership power by sharing your story of disruption? Contact Dr. Murfield today.9 Critical Components

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Disclosure:  No benefits have been promised or received for writing about driverless cars.

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