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Make sure your team is GenAI savvy.

Episode four of our “Crossing the AI Chasm” shifts the series' focus away from technology and towards the business' operators and prospective genAI users; the "team".

For the purpose of this blog, we'll keep the conversation within the realm of the reasonable, and Hollywood and your imagination at bay for a moment. With that as a starting point, let's agree that GenAI can be integrated to any business process and perform, partly or in full, nearly any function. The problem is not making the technologies connect and work; a greater problem is having corporate users (the "team") adopt the use of GenAI in their day to day work.

Adoption is substantially influenced by knowledge, and to that end and for everyone's benefit, every team member must be GenAI savvy. Notice that I said "savvy" and not "an expert". The truth is that unless your team and business is engaged in advanced AI work, you should select GenAI applications and integrate them to your operations, so no one in the team must operate at "GenAI PhD level". They should operate at SME level within their discipline (but that is yet another blog).

With successful adoption of GenAI, and it's seamless integration to business processes in mind, let's discuss why educating the team and it's leadership is key to the success of your GenAI initiatives.


A vehicle prototype imagined using AI
Imagine what Henry Ford would think today, were he able to see vehicle concepts generated in seconds.
"The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay. "

Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company.

Training the team on and about GenAI- Employees

When building a GenAI savvy team, consider discussing and training on these, and other topics:

  • Addressing the fears and misconceptions

    • Even as GenAI technologies continue to evolve, there persists a myriad of myths and misconceptions about what GenAI can do. Some teammates may believe that GenAI is poised to completely replace human creativity and job roles (like theirs), while others are skeptical of its practicality, fearing it might generate unreliable or biased content.

    • It's essential to address these misconceptions head-on. Training should focus on clarifying that while GenAI can augment human capabilities, it is not a replacement for human judgment and creativity. It operates within the boundaries of its programming and the data it has been fed. Moreover, GenAI systems are not infallible—they can and do make mistakes, and their outputs must be monitored and managed responsibly.

  • Help them understand the lingo

    • Motherhood an apple pie if you will, but please ensure everyone in the team has working knowledge of the new terms that they will use. Beyond being able to say "ChatGPT" and "OpenAI", there is a complete language world that all teammates must understand.

    • As well, they should know how the new terms apply to the work that they do.

  • Up-skilling and re-skilling for a GenAI-augmented workplace.

    • What a great opportunity to address the misconceptions and fears mentioned above, than by up-skilling and re-skilling the team to make sure they continue to work at peak performance. Like Mr. Ford said, you don't want untrained teammates mucking up the deployment of technology that can literally benefit everyone in the team (or union as case may be ;) )

  • Recognizing scenarios where human intervention is crucial.

    • Make sure that the everyone understands where the proverbial and literal safety stops are. In the world of GenAI there are plenty of opportunities for even the best application to deliver gibberish trash.

    • Where we are today, GenAI can do a lot, but the little it can't do, absolutely requires the engagement and action of humans. Make sure that your team knows when their engagement in the new processes is critical.

  • Ethical considerations and biases in GenAI systems.

    • GenAI is the product of humans, and unfortunately not immune to their biases and habits. Make sure that your team understands how the business can and should be run, within the boundaries of the law and in an ethical fashion.

    • Make them familiar with the laws of the land and the industry, such that they can hold themselves and others to account.

Training the team on how to encourage the use of GenAI - Leadership

No, leadership does not get a hall pass. To the contrary, and much in the spirit of the 1st Cavalry Division, leadership needs to be the first to step into the field of battle, and lead from the front.

The business' leadership team must foster a culture that embraces change and innovation, and should address fears and resistance to adopting GenAI head on. They should lead by example in the use and learning of GenAI and should start by having a well defined and clear business strategy that is aligned with and accounts for the use of GenAI.

Unless leadership understands what GenAI can do, and it is united in the cause for adoption, any investment will be at risk. To avoid that, here are some topics and areas to focus on, which will help develop the "savvy" in the team at large.

1. Crafting a Forward-Thinking GenAI Strategy:

- Corporate leaders are the architects of their company's future. It's essential for them to understand not only the technological aspects of GenAI but also its strategic implications. Creating a GenAI strategy requires a clear-eyed assessment of how these technologies can serve long-term business objectives. Leaders must ask critical questions: What are the competitive advantages that GenAI can offer? How can GenAI drive innovation in products and services? What does the roadmap for integration look like, and what milestones can we set to measure success?

2. Communicating the GenAI Vision:

- Once a strategy is in place, leaders must effectively communicate the vision to stakeholders at all levels. This involves articulating the potential benefits of GenAI, from operational efficiencies to new value propositions. It also means being transparent about the changes that will occur, including shifts in job roles and the need for new skills. Leaders should be prepared to inspire their workforce with the possibilities that GenAI brings while simultaneously grounding their expectations in reality.

3. Investing in GenAI Infrastructure and Partnerships:

- For GenAI to take root, leaders must be willing to invest in the necessary infrastructure. This could mean upgrading existing systems, acquiring new technologies, or securing strategic partnerships with GenAI innovators. Each choice should reflect a commitment to building a robust ecosystem that supports the ongoing development and scaling of AI initiatives.

4. Cultivating an AI-Ready Culture:

- Leadership must also cultivate a culture that is receptive to AI-driven change. This involves championing a mindset of lifelong learning and adaptability. Leaders should encourage employees to engage with GenAI tools, providing them with opportunities to up-skill and contribute to AI projects. Additionally, leaders must model the behaviors they wish to see, demonstrating a willingness to embrace GenAI in their own decision-making processes.

5. Addressing Resistance and Fostering Resilience:

- Change invariably meets resistance. Leaders must be ready to address concerns and fears around AI, such as job displacement or loss of control. By proactively engaging in dialogue with employees, leaders can help to demystify GenAI and build resilience in the face of technological disruption. This includes highlighting the collaborative potential between humans and AI and emphasizing the value of human creativity and strategic thinking.

6. Governance, Ethics, and Compliance:

- GenAI poses new ethical dilemmas and regulatory challenges. Leaders have a responsibility to ensure that their AI initiatives comply with existing laws and ethical standards, considering issues like data privacy, bias, and accountability. Establishing clear governance structures for AI use, developing ethical guidelines, and preparing for future regulatory landscapes are all critical components of responsible leadership in the age of AI.

A team with solid conversational and working knowledge of GenAI is key to the successful adoption of AI in your corporation. Don't slip on training your team, top to bottom, accordingly.


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