5 Things We Can Learn about Leadership from Siri

by Matt Monge

Apple’s virtual assistant Siri was designed to learn and get more sophisticated over time. The evolution in Siri’s capability and the increase in value she brings happen as users build a history with her. Learning through experience…what a great concept!

As I used Siri over the past year, I found myself getting frustrated and losing patience when she didn’t understand my request. I would ask her to call someone in my address book – she would tell me there are no Vietnamese restaurants close by. I would ask her to search the web for “succession management” and she would search “efficiency in algorithms”. Not very helpful. In the end, I would often just do the work myself.

Over time, I had an unsettled feeling though. Apple made a big investment to purchase the technology and integrate Siri into their products, so she is clearly talented and has great potential.  A few questions emerged in my mind: What if I was Siri’s leader? What if it was my obligation to develop her for the future?  This got me thinking about how many organizations are struggling to build leadership, build succession processes that really work, and create a culture of learning.

Yes, it’s often easier to just do the work ourselves, especially when someone misses the mark on a task or project. But this is the crux of the problem. As leaders it’s up to us tobuild capacity for the future. This means we must strive to provide meaningful challenges, show empathy, provide coaching & feedback and we must be patient as individuals learn from their experiences. How often do we bring bright, passionate, talented individuals on board – only to miss every opportunity to help them grow and develop?

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