Future of Leadership in the Age of AI CH8
To remain competitive, organizations will increasingly have to innovate. As the speed of innovation increases, disrupting whole sectors, competitive intelligence, market intelligence even a bit of futurism will become essential skills. Leaders will have to stay informed not only of macro trends in their industry but also in technology in general. And they will have to do more than merely report their findings to appropriate people higher in the organization. AI can easily do that. Instead, they will also have to develop a sense for how those trends could impact their organization, so they can assess how to get the...
CH 1: Introduction – The Future of Leadership in the Age of AI
It’s almost impossible to turn around nowadays without finding another article predicting the impact that AI and other emerging technologies – the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution – will have on our future. It’s one of the hottest topics being discussed by forward-thinking business leaders today. And well it should be. The fact that we are on the cusp of dramatic change in how business, workplaces and our very lives are carried out is inescapable. Some writers picture a utopia where humankind is freed from manual labor, where machines do all the work and all people receive a universal basic income...
Innovation in Canada
Canada’s rankings in innovation has lagged that of other peer nations for decades despite government efforts to address this issue. Considering its success in developing research programs at its universities, its mediocre rankings overall in technology development is disappointing. Those programs alone have not been enough to translate into entrepreneurial innovation. A 2017 C.D. Howe Institute study points out that, even though Canadians have been at the forefront of breakthroughs in emerging technologies, in many cases, the chief beneficiaries of those breakthroughs have been other nations’ economies. Canada needs to take a stronger role in building an environment in which...
Future of AI
If you’ve read the many predictions about the future of AI, you’ve likely found them to be wildly different. They range from AI spelling doom for humanity, to AI ushering in Golden Age of peace, harmony and culture, to AI producing barely a blip on society’s path toward ever-greater technological achievement. Those three views – dystopian, utopian and organic – present issues we need to consider as we move deeper toward an AI-integrated future. Yet they also contain exaggerations and false assumptions that we need to separate from reality. The Dystopian View of the AI Future Those with a dystopian view of...
Giving Feedback Across Cultures
Giving feedback is hard. Giving good feedback is even harder. Giving good feedback across cultures is next to impossible. On my first Canadian project two decades ago, my Canadian boss "suggested that I think about" doing something in a different manner. So I did. I thought about it, and I decided not to. Not long afterwards, our Canadian client provided feedback on my first deliverable. I was elated to hear that I had "some original ideas" and that my report was "relatively fine." They concluded with a suggestion that perhaps I "should consider rewording parts of it." Never the one to go fixing what's not broken, I...
AI Interpersonal
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming ever more important, and not just in automating repetitive, manual labor jobs. Increasingly, it also enters the realm of highly trained knowledge workers. New. AI-driven world will require different skills. Systems like IBM Watson augment the expertise of tax preparers, lawyers, doctors and many other highly trained professionals. Corporate executives use AI’s ability to gather, analyze and run extensive simulations on data to help them make better-informed decisions. The applications for AI appear almost unlimited. The implications are clear. AI will reshape not just operations, but also all other aspects of the business world. So, how...
AI Assimilators
AI leaders must adapt to the changing culture as young workers enter the job market with expectations strikingly different from the ones that leaders traditionally have encountered. These changes within their own business culture are not, though, the only culture changes to which leaders will have to adapt. AI and other emerging technologies are accelerating the process of globalization. For example, as 3D printers become more prevalent, manufacturers will sell designs rather than finished products. Breaking into new markets won’t be a multiyear, investment-heavy effort. Emerging technologies will greatly reduce logistics requirements and expand old, geographically limited markets into one,...
AI Future
Where AI, robots, IoT and the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution are taking us, and how we should prepare for it are some of the hottest topics being discussed today. Perhaps the most striking thing about these discussions is how different people’s conclusions are. Some picture a utopia where machines do all work, where all people receive a universal basic income from the revenues machines generate and where, being freed from a need to work for wages, all people devote their time to altruism, art and culture. Others picture a dystopia where a tiny elite class uses their control of AI...
AI Future Workforce
Whether AI and the technologies it enables will reach their full potential depends on the workforce that will work alongside them. Yet the skills that that workforce needs to do this are in short supply. Rather than debating what to do about massive job losses from AI, discussion should focus on how best to prepare workers' skills for the types of jobs that they will need to fill. A shifting job picture A 2017 McKinsey’s report says that approximately half of all activities done by the current workforce could be automated. They point out, however, that this does not point to...
AI Three Futures
If you’ve read the many predictions about the future of AI, you’ve likely found them to be wildly different. They range from AI spelling doom for humanity, to AI ushering in Golden Age of peace, harmony and culture, to AI producing barely a blip on society’s path toward ever-greater technological achievement. Those three views – dystopian, utopian and organic – present issues we need to consider as we move deeper toward an AI-integrated future. Yet they also contain exaggerations and false assumptions that we need to separate from reality. The Dystopian View of AI Future Those with a dystopian view of emerging technologies...
Leadership AI Book
Today’s business leadership face a conundrum. Artificial Intelligence (AI) unquestionably will play an enormous role in the future of their organizations and the business environment in which they operate, but what effects will it have? Prognosticators have wildly different visions of the future it will create, ranging from causing the extinction of humanity to ushering in a Golden Age in which machines provide all humanity’s needs and free us to focus on altruistic service to one another and the advancement of human culture. Both of these most commonly heard predictions are based on assumptions that lead to wild speculation that...
Leadership in the age of AI
AI’s effect on the workplace will not be limited merely to repetitive, production line-type jobs. Increasingly, it also enters the realm of highly trained knowledge workers. It will also affect those who manage workers currently employed in such jobs. AI likely will reshape jobs all the way up to the C-level offices. That doesn’t mean, though, that managers and executives will no longer be needed. They simply need to prepare themselves for shifts in their work responsibilities. In my latest article Why AI Is Neither the End of Civilization nor the Beginning of Nirvana I argued that AI will bring...
Diversity Uncomfortable
The topic of diversity is not one that most people find in their comfort zone. As I wrote in a previous article on diversity, increasing diversity often engenders frustration in those tasked with accomplishing it, and inspires eye rolls among diversity-fatigued employees who have heard countless reports on management’s diversity goals, but remain unconvinced of diversity’s value. Can anything be done to make diversity less of an uncomfortable topic? The answer is no. Nothing about diversity will ever make it into the general business population’s comfort zone. I say that not out of cynicism, but out of practicality. At its root, diversity...
Enterprise Resilience
Modern theories of the firm remain focused on transaction costs, operational efficiency, employee motivation, leadership, strategy and other related factors. While any of these may support our success at various times, none of them alone will facilitate it in the long run. Even strategy, while vitally important, is set at a point in time and is vulnerable to change. The one factor that enables our company’s long-term viability is Enterprise Resilience which enables a company to adapt to a change. Technological Upheaval We are in an ever-shifting maelstrom of change. Climate change causes more frequent and intense natural disasters. Changing climate...
Diversity Failings
Don’t expect this to be either of the typical articles about diversity. I’m here not to fawn over its benefits nor to rant about who does or doesn’t get hired. I’m here, instead, to ask why we react to it in the baffling way we do, why it often accomplishes the exact opposite of its stated goals and what dramatic approaches we might take to make achieving its goals more realistic. Announce a round of diversity training, or of progress toward reaching diversity hiring goals, and one thing is guaranteed. Eye rolls and sarcastic comments among workers will abound behind...