By Steven Singer

What Does It Mean to Be a Leader in the Age of AI? Part 1
28 November 2017 | 10:15 am

With the advent of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning, it’s time to re-evaluate how we hire, train and lead our employees.

The ability to do a job faster or cheaper will no longer be what sets an organization apart from its competitors, but rather the ability of organizations and its human component to critically and strategically think for the organization and its customers.

With improved critical thinking, machine learning and A.I., an organization will be able to move faster and more effectively than its competitors making it both more interesting and challenging for its human workforce and valuable to its customers.

In an A.I. environment, co-workers will be expected by its customers and the organization to work in teams, improve communication with customers, come up with original thoughts and strategies, explain how A.I. came up to its conclusions and implement their strategies. Objectives of the organization and its customers probably will not change (e.g. enhanced customer and trusted relationships, bottom and top line growth). However, the way the organization uses its human components will change dramatically.

What does it mean to critically think? According to the Foundation for Critically Thinking.org you and your co-workers should be able to:

  • Raise vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely.
  • Gather and assess relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively.
  • Come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards.
  • Thinking open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as needs to be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences.
  • Communicate effectively with others (in teams) in figuring out complex solutions.

How to go about implementing and dealing with co-workers who are unfamiliar or unable to cope with the new paradigm?

  • Link their compensation and future to these management objectives so they realize the importance of these new organizational directives.
  • Identify your stars who understand and employ “critical thinking” methods and encourage them to lead by giving them authority and autonomy to do so.
  • Recognize, embrace and communicate this as a cultural shift that will enhance the well- being and livelihood of everyone involved.
  • Be prepared to promote team members that exhibit these skills and counsel out those who can’t adopt.
  • Prioritize these skill sets as a core competency of new hires.
  • Make it as a top goal for your organization.
  • Hire the right professionals.

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