AI – Are You Ready? Are Your People?

The UN estimates that there will be a 9-fold increase in the value of frontier technologies to US$3.2 trillion between 2018 and 2025.

Whilst the media has screaming headlines suggesting that: 

“AI could eventually replace 300M jobs globally…….”

……when actually citing Goldman Sachs’ paper The Potentially Large Effects of Artificial Intelligence on Economic Growth (Briggs/Kodnani; March 2023)

That report, however, goes on to say:

“The good news is that worker displacement from automation has historically been offset by creation of new jobs, and the emergence of new occupations following technological innovations accounts for the vast majority of long-run employment growth”.

ECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers No. 265 on AI’s impact on employment also reports that: 

Over the period 2012-2019, employment grew in nearly all occupations analysed. 

Overall, there appears to be no clear relationship between AI exposure and employment growth. 

However, in occupations where computer use is high, greater exposure to AI is linked to higher employment growth. 

The paper also finds suggestive evidence of a negative relationship between AI exposure and growth in average hours worked among occupations where computer use is low.”

But just how are the media headlines internalised by your people?

According to the The Oxford Review, 2023 research indicates that:

“In the workplace there is a strong trend for increasing machine / AI and human integration and that the outcomes can no longer be seen as a product of one system or the other. 

This integration is having a range of impacts across the following areas: 

Human resource planning 

Training and development 

Health, safety, and well-being 

Performance management and appraisal 

Employee and labour relations 

Recruitment and selection 

Across each of these areas there is a need for greater expertise, development, and research into effective human-AI integration for workplace outcomes.” 

The report also cites lack of understanding, privacy, and bias as major concerns.

So, how are you preparing your organisation and your people for this seismic transition to AI and “Industry 5”?

Rogers’ diffusion curve suggests that 34% of your people will be the late majority of adopters of AI, and 16% will actively resist it, and they will need time (and plenty of it) to buy-in to the inevitable change.

Time is not on your side.  

Google has suggested that the equivalent of 20,000 years of innovation will occur in this century, and the clock’s ticking.  

ChatGPT is already gaining widespread adoption, as are process automations in many applications.  

How will your team’s critical thinking be impacted by this new and unregulated creative tool?

We’ve discussed the science, principles, accelerators, and organisational structure that can equip you to effectively deal with the continuous and accelerating stream of change, in our series of posts, “Change or Chance?”

Remember change is about leadership and people.  

Your people need to have reason to buy-in to your vision of how AI will present an opportunity to them and the organisation. 

So, having created a sense of urgency and formed a guiding-coalition, it’s critical that you form a strategic vision that your stakeholders can genuinely share.

Your shared strategic vison needs to be presented as an opportunity (rather than a threat) and must be:

1.    Imaginable – people need to “get it”

2.    Desirable – people need to “want it” and to be “part of it”

3.    Feasible – people need to believe that it “can be done” and that “they can do it”

4.    Focused – what will the organisation actually “look like” after the change?

5.    Flexible – the organisation (as a whole) can adjust the vision to improve upon it

6.    Communicable – you and your people can easily and concisely share the vision

To be effective your change vison statement must also be, simple, concise and it must inspire positive emotions (“the heart”) in you and your people.

And then the “secret” (or not so secret) sauce.

You form a creative network formed from a significant number of volunteers, taken from a diagonal slice of the organisation, to actually formulate and innovate towards the shared strategic vision for your AI integration. 

In other words, your people, working with your guiding coalition (which includes subject matter experts) and project sponsors, work up the integration.  

This may, necessarily occur over several iterations and rotation of the guiding coalition and creative network, to ensure that burn-out is avoided and agility and innovation is protected.

Communicating for buy-in is essential.  

This will include frequent and relevant communication and of course, training (innovators and early adopters first so that they can lead later training and development).

A vital Leadership’s task is to remove barriers to implementation (such as outdated systems, structures and practices).

Then ensure that you generate early wins that are visible and communicated to stakeholders.  

This will massively improve the project momentum and the acceleration (which must be sustained) towards the sustainable institutionalisation of the AI implementation.

That’s an over-view and there’s plenty to do, down in the reeds.

Ultimately, it’s about engaging your stakeholders, giving them real ownership of the change process and “…..instead of taking a lot of time to get new ideas from a small group of people, take a small amount of time from members of a large group of people and exponentially increase the number and quality of solutions that are generated” (Kotter International).


#AI #change #changeleadership #kotter #oxfordreview #transformation #people #hrm



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Barry Eustance CMgr MCMI Profile image in black polo with The Sixsess Consultancy Logo in a fawn background
Barry Eustance CMgr MCMI

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