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  • Dr. Jeff Doolittle

3 Steps Toward Getting Your Workforce Introduction to Artificial Intelligence Right

Change is certain. Getting it right isn’t.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping the world. A quick look through the AI Index report provides numerous points of data confirming the rapid global expansion and impact of AI. Navigating your company’s introduction to AI well could ensure your company’s relevance into the future. Poorly navigating the AI transformation could cost your company significantly. No pressure, right?

AI is different from previous technological advances and is closer to the relative impact of when cavemen discovered fire. New jobs and ways to utilize AI are identified daily. Even a new workplace relationship between employee and machine is created through AI. These changes range from stabilizing the birthday image from your iPhone camera to using AI to rebuild our trust in the internet by exposing deep fake images. AI is even being used to improve the prediction of future medical issues in patients to save lives.

AI can dramatically transform your company with improved results and destroy it if not handled well. With today’s highly competitive employee-driven market you cannot afford to make a mistake that negatively impacts your employees. This competitive marketplace is not projected to change anytime soon, nor will the talent market. The key is to start taking action on the changes your company needs to make.

Implementing change is a common part of business today, but often organizations struggle to achieve the anticipated results. The Boston Consulting Group estimates 50-75 percent of the change initiatives fail to deliver results, with the two most common reasons being a lack of senior leadership commitment and milestones to guide the change. If companies do not handle the introduction of AI well, both results and relationships will suffer. Whether it is the visible impact of an unanticipated departure of an employee, or the more devastating hidden impact of a disengaged employee collecting a paycheck and creating problems in the organization.

Here are three important tips to get your company’s AI introduction to the workforce started off right:

1. Create a vision statement for AI in your company.

Starting with the end in mind is a significant first step. An ideal future state for your organization should include improved results and employee relationships. It is easy to feel pressured into having to choose results or relationships, but leadership is choosing both. Remember, change is inevitable in business, and it is an opportunity for the growth of your business and your employees. As a leader, you need to establish a vision of a bright future. The following example is from the Microsoft Annual Report 2017, “Microsoft is a technology company whose mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We strive to create local opportunity, growth, and impact in every country around the world. Our strategy is to build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge infused with artificial intelligence (“AI”).”

2. Engage your employees into a meaningful positive dialogue about AI.

Plan a meeting starting with senior leadership where you will together as a group discuss the following topics: what is AI?, what does the future of AI look like?, and what is the potential company use and vision for AI? In this meeting, you should listen to both verbal and nonverbal communication. Your goal is to uncover the differences, commonalities, hopes, and fears of your employees. These meetings are the beginning of a dialogue that engages those impacted by the change into the discussion on the change; toward that bright future.

3. Conduct a strategic workforce planning session.

Identify the roles that will be strategic, operational, and supporting for introducing AI to your company. Next, consider the various roles and needs to identify what talent you can develop internally and what expertise you will need to attract into your company. Lastly, based on the gap and competencies required to grow internally, develop a plan for employee development according to the different roles. Mackenzie & Company’s research anticipates AI will drive increased demand for employees with competencies such as critical thinking, continuous learning, and data analysis, as well as other technology-related information skills.

The discovery of fire by cave dwellers was life-giving. The control of fire was the cultural turning point that led to life-altering innovation. Likewise, today, the invention of AI is giving life to new organizations and jobs. The future of AI is controlling its introduction in your company.

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Hi, I'm Dr. Jeff Doolittle. I'm determined to make your personal and professional goals a reality. My only question is, are you?

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About Dr. Jeff Doolittle

He is the founder of Organizational Talent Consulting in Grand Rapids, MI, and Program Director of online graduate and continuing business education at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. Executive leaders who work with Jeff describe him as thoughtful, decisive, intelligent, and collaborative. Jeff is a business executive with over twenty years of talent development and organizational strategy experience working with C-suite leaders in Fortune 100, Forbes top 25 private, for-profit, non-profit, and global companies in many industries.

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