Obama and Complexity

398996_10151174426705964_892131141_n

So I was listening to a story on Public Radio last night… [Sorry, no link].

A journalist was talking about how he got to spend a month at the White House, hanging out with Obama. I’m guessing he write a book about it, so he was on the radio promoting it…

Obama was telling the journalist how much more “fast” the job of President is becoming.

To paraphrase Obama, if something went down in Africa say, in Lincoln’s time, the President might not react to it at all, and if he did, he might take a couple of months to get around it.

Nowadays, if something goes down in Africa (Say, the current Algerian crisis) the President is lucky if he has half an hour to make a decision.

And what’s true for Obama is also true of your job.

The world is getting faster and more complex by the hour, way faster than any of us were programmed to cope with.

Managing increasing hyper-complexity is going to be the most sought after and valued leadership skill there is. Computers can only do so much.

I fnd it quite exciting. Scary, but exciting…

Comments

  1. “Mana­ging inc­rea­sing hyper-complexity”
    Women ROCK when it comes to multitasking, add a dash of good decision making skills and the age of men & Mordor crumbles.

    http://www.amazon.com/Is-Vulnerable-Life-Outside-Comfort/dp/1591846102/

  2. I agree that the pace of the world is increasingly frenetic (and that’s putting it mildly) but i’m skeptical of the idea that leadership must keep up with that pace.

    Obama has to react quickly because, well, he is the president of America (a.k.a the microwave nation).

    Unless you’re specifically referring to leadership in America, less harried decision making is probably still very valuable for the foreseeable future

  3. Hyper-complexity is such a great buzz-word. It’s also an umbrella term for stress, health issues, hyperactivity, failing relationships… blah blah…

    Life isn’t going to get slower but it will take a few generations (at least) before people are physically and mentally able to keep up with it.

    I’ve noticed people get extremely riled if their emails aren’t replied to almost immediately. Why are we acting like robots when we’re not?

Speak Your Mind

*

Comment through Twitter

Are you ready to work with us?

Get More Info

Testimonials

Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

The New Republic
Lydia Depillis

Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

Len Schlesinger
Former President, Babson College

"There are only two daily newsletters that I look forward to opening and reading every time they show up to my inbox: Seth Godin's and gapingvoid."

Tony Hsieh
CEO, Zappos

In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
@copyblogger
 
  • Seth Godin
  • The New Republic
  • Len Schlesinger
  • Tony Hsieh
  • Brian Clark
prevnext