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Where have all the gurus gone?

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Because of Big Data, the leadership industry is in decline. Today, business is driven by “quants” who excel at extracting data or producing algorithms that can automate work, but are not so good at putting numbers into words.

Few pundits can think across industries like Tom Peters can, or range across centuries of thought like Peter Drucker did.

But maybe the worst enemy of the leadership gurus is the “thought leadership” industry, in which companies are persuaded that becoming a splashy public thinker on an issue affecting their industry will give them a competitive edge.

Thought leadership is not leadership, however much it makes you “part of the conversation early in the buying journey.”

In the gender discrimination case brought by Ellen Pao against Kleiner Perkins, it came out that one reason she didn’t get promoted was being deemed inadequate as a “thought leader.”

So, where have all the gurus gone? China still has none. The industry seems ripe for innovation.

—Adapted from “Twilight of the gurus,” Schumpeter, The Economist.

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