Elon Musk's audacious vision for X aims to make your bank obsolete within a year. Meanwhile, the White House plans to impose national rules on AI with Biden mobilizing federal agencies to both harness and hedge AI's omnipresence while attempting to protect workers—in everything from healthcare and education to trade and housing. The draft executive order also throws a regulatory curveball at AI in banking. (Elon, are you listening?)
Anyways, even if AI did replace our financial institutions, it’s still not close to replacing us—provided we adapt. According to new research from IBM, CEOs have a much rosier view of their team’s AI readiness than the rest of leadership: 74% of CEOs say their teams are appropriately skilled in generative AI—only 29% of their C-suite agree. This is the kind of disconnect that can actually slow down the strategic pivots necessary to adapt to the new reality.
The study also found that by 2025, generative AI will reshape 77% of entry-level roles, and shake up the corner offices of one-in-four senior execs. The AI wave is coming—and it's going to be indiscriminate.
Our best bet for now? Reskill workers, giving them the AI skills this moment demands, so that they can architect a future where generative AI is the norm.
CHART OF THE WEEK
Generative AI Significantly Boosts or Hurts Performance, Depending on the Type of Task
Think it’s obvious when AI is (or isn’t) a good fit for the task? Think again.
A recent BCG experiment, backed by academic scholars from top universities, surveyed 750 consultants and revealed the devil in the details.
They had the consultants perform two sets of tasks using generative AI: The creative product innovation task meant coming up with ideas for new products and go-to-market plans. The business problem-solving task asked participants to identify the root cause of a company’s challenges based on performance data and interviews with executives.
It might seem counterintuitive, but generative AI actually did better at creative product innovation. As the study found, “it is easier for LLMs to come up with creative, novel, or useful ideas based on the vast amounts of data on which they have been trained.” There’s way more room for error when evaluating nuanced qualitative and quantitative data to answer a complex question.
This reaffirms something we’ve been learning as we play with these tools: You can’t rely on them completely, you have to keep the human in the loop, adding in their own judgment.
So, how can organizations make sure their employees aren’t falling for deception and are actually using AI for a competitive edge? BCG recommends you start with these four steps:
1. Data Strategy: Leverage unique, high-quality data to fine-tune your generative AI models. This will set you apart in a sea of similar applications.
2. Roles and Workflows: Shift your mindset—consider GenAI's output as more than just a draft. Apply human oversight for quality, but trust the machine's capabilities where they shine.
3. Strategic Workforce Planning: The talent landscape is evolving, and AI is blurring the lines between roles and skills. To navigate this, leaders should ask:
- What capabilities will be essential?
- What's our hiring strategy in an AI-augmented world?
- How do we upskill our team effectively?
- How can we foster diversity of thought and approach?
4. Experimentation and Testing: Given the rapid advancements in Gen AI, the only way to stay ahead is through constant experimentation.
What Startups Can Learn About Team-Building from the Navy SEALs
In the fast-paced realm of startups, survival hinges on adaptability, resilience, and innovation. There’s another domain where these three traits are paramount: Navy SEALs combat units.
I sat down recently with Andrew Herr, an elite performance coach who has worked with SEALs and professional athletes. He’s also the CEO and Founder of Fount, the world’s first truly comprehensive health and performance program. Herr unveiled a teamwork blueprint distilled from his time with the SEALs that startups can apply to this chaotic, uncertain market.
Herr began with an alarming observation: Teams under extreme stress, be it military units or business groups, tend to become "cognitively myopic." They lose adaptability and struggle to assimilate new data, much like someone swamped with stress hormones. That’s where trust comes in. "If you're with someone you trust in a stressful situation, your cortisol levels will be lower," he said.
But trust alone isn’t the panacea. Herr introduced another vital component: mission focus. As Herr explained, “handling stress enables high performance but does not drive it. You need motivation to drive performance.”
Industrial psychology shows that just because a group of people likes each other, it does not necessarily lead to higher performance. As Herr puts it, “If everyone likes Johnny and Johnny is like falling behind today, everyone will slow down so Johnny doesn't look bad.”
“Mission focus is the factor that drives the ability to perform at an elite level.”
Imagine a matrix: teams with low trust and low mission focus offer minimal performance. High trust but low mission focus results in consistent, though not exemplary, performance. High mission focus without trust delivers excellent results until stress disrupts the equilibrium, making performance brittle. The nirvana? High trust coupled with high mission focus.
Startups are constantly being judged by investors, by the market, by customers, and even by your teammates. That’s stressful. So how do you mitigate stress and build trust? And what happens when you mess up?
Herr’s recipe is simple, if not always easy to execute: “Turns out you have to do two things. One, you have to acknowledge the mistake. If you don't, everyone knows you'll do it again. Two, you've got to get back on the horse. If you're not confident in yourself, no one will be confident. That is often a very hard mix of things to do. People either err on the side of, I fucked up, I'm an idiot, or they err on the side of not acknowledging it and trying to be confident. But you have to do both.”
The AI x Future of Work Summit
Join us on November 30th—the anniversary of ChatGPT's launch—as we explore the ethical, practical, and transformative aspects of AI in the workforce.
What You'll Learn:
AI's ROI: Discover how generative AI is revolutionizing industries from healthcare to financial services with actionable real-world use cases.
AI Talent Wars: Strategies to supercharge your team and attract and retain top AI talent in a fiercely competitive market.
Ethical AI Policy: How to craft AI ethics and policy that prioritizes both innovation and the human element.
Disrupt or Be Disrupted: Get equipped with the frameworks and skills needed to future-proof your career and retrain the workforce.
AI DISCOVERY ZONE
- Adobe's Scott Belsky on AI and the Storytelling Soul
- Balancing Innovation and Data Safety Will Make or Break Your AI Strategy
MEME OF THE WEEK