the Justin Brady Show

Special Announcement: I will be chairing a panel discussion with Roger Martin, Rita McGrath, and Christian Sarkar for the Global Peter Drucker Forum on June 9th. Learn more »

Why does your boss repeat the same broken leadership model, despite seeing poor results? It’s because many business models are useless. They are simply a warm security blanket, and using them absolves a CEO of responsibility. Best-selling author Roger Martin calls out bad leadership and bad models and explains how data can crush imagination.

Who is Roger Martin?

A New Way To Think, by Roger Martin
A New Way To Think by Roger Martin Buy It »

Martin is the former Dean of the Rotman School of Management, best-selling author of 13 books, the #1 Thinkers 50 for management, and author of his newest book, A New Way To Think. Much of his new book, details the broken models leaders use, why they use them, and what they should do instead. He tells detailed stories from more than a decade of work alongside A.G. Lafley, CEO of Proctor and Gamble as well.


Why do CEOs and managers use broken models?

Why do CEOs and managers use broken models and poor leadership practices to begin with? Simply because they exist… no, really. Martin explains many leaders would rather cling to something broken instead of nothing. These models are basically a security blanket: they provide nothing but a warm fuzzy feeling.

One negative symptom of a company using a broken model is the front-line staff and employees repeating the familiar “that’s just policy” phrase. Their ability to think critically tells them it’s wrong, but they have to stick with the broken model. “You can own your models or your models can own you,” says Martin.

Martin also explains why the logical model of “increasing shareholder value” actually doesn’t increase shareholder value.


Data VS Imagination

Another area Martin cautions about is our reliance on data over imagination. He criticizes leadership that relies on data to prove something in the future. He explains how innovation would never happen if we only relied on data. The smartphone, for example, would have never been invented because there was no data showing that people wanted it. Elon couldn’t prove people wanted an electric car, for example.

Martin tells a hilarious University of Chicago Economist joke to demonstrate his point. If he sees a $20 bill on the sidewalk, does he pick it up? No, he doesn’t. If it were actually a $20 bill on the sidewalk, someone would have picked it up already! Martin also quotes Charles Sanders Peirce to drive him his point, “No new idea in the history of the world has been proven in advance, analytically.”

I also ask Martin about using AI to make inferences about the future and if we should base our leadership models on it. Join the discussion on why that could be a risky approach since AI can manifest itself as conversational and imaginative.


Roger Martin Resources

Go to Roger Martin’s official website.

Buy A New Way To Think on Amazon »

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