Fight or flight. On one side there are robots fighting and the other side is a man fleeing. Both in retrofuturistic artwork.

Fight or Flight? How Should Leaders React to Progress and Innovation?

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In business we’re taught to be fighters – going with the flow is how businesses die, right? Wrong. As leaders we are measured on the *choices that we make, and one of the most critical choices you need to make is knowing which hills that you’re willing to die on.

My first book “LEGACIDE – how legacy thinking is the silent killer of innovationfocused on one core idea:

In an established organization, progress doesn’t happen when you start doing something new, but when you stop doing something old.

Now, this is not a post about Generative AI / ChatGPT, or our future overlords. It’s a post about our attitude towards these things.

In my morning reflection today, this snippet was resurfaced by READWISE:

a snippet from a resurfaced post by Readwise

(Deffs the SECOND book you should buy as a result of reading this post).

There’s three reasons I shared this, the first is that it’s great, the second is that we need to understand that our attitude towards the thing IS THE THING. And third is that last line:

You are either in accord with their flow or in resistance to their nature.

I bring this up as I was served an article to read by REFIND this morning in which a Sci-Fi publication has shut down submissions from all writers in order to combat the massive amount of AI-generated fiction being submitted.

AI generated image of a robot overlord destroying a city

(I made this using AI – obvs)

In a tweet by Neil Clarke, the editor of the Clarkesworld (the sci-fi mag in question) shares the data on the amount of “writers” that they have had to BAN of late for submitting plagiarised and machine-generated content:

tweet by clarkesworld

He goes on to say, “We don’t have a solution for the problem. We have some ideas for minimizing it, but the problem isn’t going away.”

No, it’s not Neil – you’re farting against thunder!

Now if the irony has been lost on you allow me to point out that this is a SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE COMPLAINING ABOUT STORIES WRITTEN BY A.I.!

This is literally the coming to life of the stories that they have been sharing for nearly two decades – and they are fighting it.

Look, I understand, it’s hard to manage. However I’d suggest a very simple solve would be a category on their site for top AI generated sci-fi. If it were me, I’d started a Reddit page for the mag. I’d have people submit their A.I. generated stories there with some kinda elevator pitch (that the machine can generate) and have their community upvote the stories that deserve notice.

This is no longer science fiction… it’s science fact.

Leaders… you cannot always fight, sometimes the best course of action is acceptance. You need to take flight. The one difference is that instead of running away from the problem, you need to run towards it. You have to always be asking yourself, “Am I trying to stop the march of progress?” If you are, stop. It’s never happened yet, and you’re unlikely to buck that trend. Play the numbers and instead consider reframing your thinking to, “What would I do if I wanted to lead the charge?”

The world will be changed by the leaders that do…!

Richard Mulholland is a global speaker, author, and the founder of Missing Link – a business that has, for the past 26 years, helped companies lead the charge.

*Interested in the topic of making better choices/decision-making? My latest keynote: The Art of Choicehow to make decisions that your future self will high-five you for may be just what you’re looking for.