Artificial Intelligence is becoming relevant in organizations faster than people expected. Leaders may believe they have time to get their AI programs and policies in order. Truth is, they don’t. And many key corporate functions – IT, HR, Supply Chain, Finance, Communications – will be impacted off the bat.
Since AI has been working its way in over the past couple of years, it is expected to make an even bigger splash very soon. Some leaders are nervous, but what they don’t understand is that if they are ready, AI could unleash the highest levels of productivity we have seen in decades. Leaders need to prepare their organizations now or they will be left floundering.
The secret to getting yourself and your organization ahead of the AI tsunami is to address both the science and the art of change – and learning how to accelerate your change curve methodically with tangible outcomes.
The Science Part: Hardwire the organization to be ready
- Focus on data literacy. Every job will eventually need to understand and interpret data to drive faster decision making and execution. Leaders in particular will need to understand how to access data and quickly use it to drive decisions to pivot quickly as internal and external circumstances change.
- Adjust governance models to protect organizational ethics. Clearly outline how and when to use AI. Ascertain what is ok to access and manage and what is not. For example, is it ok to use a ChatGPT-generated communication for your organization? Do you need to tweak it or rewrite it to make it “legit”? What do you consider original work? How will you ensure that it is indeed original?
- Personalize the employee experience. AI will enable technology to get very specific around individual career modeling and pathing. Determine the extent to which your organization can support individual growth paths and how you want to empower your employees to take advantage of this capability. This is an investment well worth making to improve engagement and extend tenure across the organization.
The Art Part: Build a culture of trust
- Support innovation (and failure!): With AI able to remove many administrative and enumerative tasks, employees will need to use more strategic thinking and innovation in their jobs. This will require innovation, collaboration, and decentralized decision-making. Building a culture of trust will drive new ideas and risk taking. Failure (plus learning from mistakes and trying again) must be tolerated and welcomed in this environment!
- Communicate with transparency. History may have never seen a more important time to champion transparency! Leaders and employees will be seeking stability in an AI-influenced environment. The one thing they need as their anchor is trust in their leadership. Ensuring that employees feel confident in the information they are receiving (good or bad) will go a long way to building a culture of trust.
- Measure outcomes. Organizations are more autonomous than ever. Pushing decision making down to where the work gets done and enabling employees to operate with autonomy is the new normal – and there’s no turning back. The only way to see what’s working and what’s not is to measure outcomes and results. Set clear expectations (and integrate them into goals and performance management) and measure these outcomes regularly – even more frequently than you did in the past. This way, you can pivot quickly if things don’t seem on track.
Making a smooth transition to and through the AI revolution will be key to long-term success. Even though it’s complicated, making it feel easy and non-threatening will be essential to building muscle memory. Make it more about growth than loss. Maximizing all AI can do for your organization will help employees pivot quickly and continue moving forward, while building long-term, sustainable capability for every employee.
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