Dall-E generated image "AI supporting business in the future"
We’ve been hearing a lot about the way AI is impacting work and people’s jobs, but what about how it’s impacting the role of leaders in organizations? Companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft have been using AI for a variety of purposes, including search engines, recommendation systems, and natural language processing, and have had time to grow into and adapt to the leadership implications. But what about businesses that are not the originators of this change and especially not big tech?
AI has rapidly evolved over the past few years and has now become an indispensable tool for businesses across all industries. In order to stay competitive, business leaders must understand the impact that AI can have on their organizations and take proactive steps to address its use in their operations.
How does this impact your business?
The impact on the workforce in all businesses will be transformative. AI tools will automate repetitive tasks, improve decision-making, and streamline processes to increase efficiency. It will eliminate certain jobs and transform others. The most recent releases of AI tools like ChatGPT also raise the possibility of human-machine hybrid work. Instead of prompting an AI and hoping for a good result, humans can now guide AIs and correct mistakes.
The use of AI also raises important ethical and legal considerations. For example, business leaders must ensure that AI systems are trained on diverse and representative data sets to prevent algorithmic bias. Additionally, it is important to ensure that AI systems are transparent and explainable so that decisions made by the algorithms can be audited and understood. There is also the issue of equitable distribution of the benefits of AI automation.
It is essential that business leaders take an active role in shaping the use of AI in their organizations. This can involve working with experts in the field, investing in AI training and education, and engaging in regular conversations with employees and stakeholders about the benefits and limitations of AI technology.
What exactly will your transformation look like?
Consider the popular ChatGPT which is a variant of the GPT (Generative Pretrained Transformer) architecture, a type of deep learning language model developed by OpenAI and backed by Microsoft. ChatGPT is a powerful language model that has been trained on a large amount of diverse text data and has the ability to generate human-like responses to a wide range of conversational prompts.
Google's Bard is based on LaMDA, short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications, and has similar functionality to ChatGPT but is currently only available to a group of testers. Both will be embedded into search services, but their application goes way beyond that.
How can ChatGPT serve your business?
So, I asked ChatGPT to give me examples of its use in medium-sized businesses with up to 500 employees. Here is what it produced in less than a minute:
- HR support: ChatGPT can be used to answer employee questions about benefits, policies, and procedures, reducing the workload for HR staff.
- Knowledge management: ChatGPT can be used to create a virtual knowledge base that employees can access for information on company policies, procedures, and best practices.
- Customer support: ChatGPT can be used to provide 24/7 customer support, handling inquiries, and directing customers to the appropriate resources.
- Sales enablement: ChatGPT can be used to provide sales teams with product and market information to help them close deals faster.
- Supply chain optimization: ChatGPT can be used to automate communication and coordination between suppliers, manufacturers, and other partners in the supply chain, improving efficiency and reducing costs.
- IT support: ChatGPT can be used to provide IT support to employees, answering questions, and directing them to the appropriate resources.
AI is here and you should decide how it fits into your business. Your employees are likely already accessing AI tools like ChatGPT at work, whether you’re aware of it or not. Get strategic about how you want it to play in your place of work. Have privacy or IP concerns? You could have it banned from work, or have IT lock it down - but what message does that send to your employees?
Instead, start a dialogue as soon as possible with your managers and employees to help guide the adoption process while protecting your business. Get input into where it could help, or where it could hurt. Be an early adopter and get ahead of the curve.
It’s time to bring AI into the mainstream of your business tools.
Craving more information on the current state of AI? An excellent start is with this HBR Article.
About the Author
Jonathan Ross is a Senior Executive Coach with an extensive background in leadership, organizational effectiveness, and technology. Jonathan has been an early adopter throughout his long career including being among the first 100K users to sign up for LinkedIn. Learn more about his experience here.