What’s smarter than a human being?
A group of human beings.
Putting our heads together to come up with brilliant ideas and implementation has been recognized for centuries as “brain-trusting,” and is well-known for the rich perspectives, problem-solving, and creativity it can generate.
But now that machines loom larger and smarter, will this mean that we lose brain trust to brawn?
How will you remain viable and vibrant in the new age of artificial intelligence (AI)?
AI is currently viewed as both an exciting development and a terrible threat. The advances we are able to make today and tomorrow are critical to meet an ever-growing complex world. Yet, we also realize that what has previously been accomplished by humans can now be taken over, at least in part, by machines.
What does that mean for meaningful work for us and for those generations that succeed us?
Will we lose our workplace to the machine?
In fact, work may become more meaningful than ever before – if you and your organization are prepared to meet it.
It is important to understand that we continue to design machines that can take over automated tasks and mundane, repetitive work. We are seeing this in the operation and support of factories and production lines, customer call operations, document classification, and other areas.
With this development, machines will indeed replace a large part of the workforce that has previously performed these tasks.
In addition, machines are now capable of performing other more complex activities such as those requiring the processing of data streams, real-time knowledge, etc. Again, machines will dominate in this particular arena.
Then what is left for us?
How can AI actually benefit and bring more meaningful work opportunities to the human part of the future workforce?
Here are three ways:
1. Opportunities for vertical development.
Instead of emphasizing hard skills and competencies, focus will be on vertical development: developing the ability to perform more complex and adaptive thinking and to “see” with a greater lens and make sense of a world growing in complexity.
Our charge will be oversight and management of machines, rather than performing the tasks.
Abilities required of us at greater levels will be adaptability, network thinking, judgment, and creativity. Acquiring these skills means more career opportunities and greater flexibility in work choices open to us.
The good news is that each of us has been given the seeds to develop vertically – and there are proven ways to develop it systematically.
2. Opportunities to support the need for belonging and growth.
Human beings seek to belong, and they seek growth.
The workplace plays a critical role in helping people to do this. Those organizations embodying a culture of collaboration and offering individual and group growth opportunities will support these needs.
Further, this will benefit the company by lowering employee turnover, and heightening engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. Machines cannot create and support this culture – it is the people alone who are empowered to do this.
What does your company need in order to support this need for belonging and growth?
3. Opportunities to tap into collective intelligence (CI) to become the organization of the future.
CI is shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and collective efforts of many. And it is key to moving an organization into the future.
Gone is the hierarchical business model of one “general” at the top, several “sergeants” at the next levels, and many “foot soldiers” carrying out the tasks.
Instead, teams are leading teams, from top to bottom – to sideways. As leaders now demand greater leadership at every level, their workforces demand to have more voice and participation in leading the company forward.
We recognize the power of this collective, and welcome the rich brain trust it provides.
As we incorporate greater vertical development, a sense of belonging, and collective intelligence, this means we will have the ability to operate at a higher level of intelligence and meaning than we have ever experienced. And that is pretty exciting!
So where do we go from here? What’s your burning question or concern about man and machine in the workplace?
DO OTHERS REALLY TRUST YOU?
Learn the two vital parts to trust and how they can help you become a more highly effective leader.
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Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.