ChatGPT is inescapable. AI is mentioned in just about every news story. Is Skynet – and all that the Terminator showed us – truly taking over the world?!

The Good/Exciting

Working with the technologists at Boeing gave me a sneak peek into the tech world. It was fascinating to watch them build tools and systems that enabled faster, “smarter”, more efficient work. The very very little I know about ChatGPT and AI point to all that and more. Proponents argue the benefits of cost-efficiency, 24/7 productivity, and how automation can relieve us humans of mundane, tactical tasks.

The Bad/Frightening

But for those who are doing those so-called mundane tasks … what does this mean? Will those jobs go away? Possibly. Likely. Processes related to tactical work – think administrative tasks like purging files / booking travel for executives / vetting locations, vendors, or speakers for conferences / etc. – are already getting fed into systems that will (in short order) do those things for humans.  

If you’re in one of those roles, what can you do? Reinvent yourself! Maybe this is the opportunity to be the expert of those processes so you can build them for the system. If you can “teach” the machine to do the work, you now have new skills … can access new roles … and have the opportunity to keep your career moving forward.  

The evolution doesn’t stop there. If you’re a manager or leader, it’s naïve to think you are beyond the reach of the machine. With machines doing the tactical work, business structures will shift. What will a manager manage? A computer? If that’s the case, are they truly a “manager” (as we define them today) or are they now the “lowest level individual contributor”? Pulling on that thread, will executives be downgraded to managers? What will the caste system or hierarchy of corporate America look like?

If today you’re a manager or leader, what options do you have? Here’s where your interpersonal skills and strengths can shine! How well do you anticipate what changes are coming? What’s your track record around developing people to be ahead of the change? For the roles that will require humans to program/code/build the new systems, how well do you ensure interdependencies are addressed and business continuity is maintained through the transition? 

The Ugly/Challenging … Future?!

But it doesn’t have to be. This could be the moment that ignites action. The trigger that reminds us to use our adaptation skills. The opportunity to push ourselves to learn … to strengthen human connections … and (as cliché as it sounds) drive the change rather than get pushed into changing.  

I believe humans have a role to play. Where you land could vary greatly depending on what you do today. When was the last time you did a personal skills assessment? Have you asked peers and leaders what skills they see in you and/or where you have untapped abilities? How well do you listen? When did you last take random bits of information, synthesize and process them, and then provide insights unique to your experiences?

There will definitely be change. There always is because change is a constant. But how do you adapt to change? Do you anticipate it … grow scared … and insulate yourself? There’s a story/saying I heard long ago – apologies as I don’t know the author or originator – that goes something like this:  

When you boil a carrot … what happens to it? It softens and can turn to mush. When an egg is placed in boiling water … what happens to it? The exterior stays the same, but the inside hardens. When coffee grounds are added to boiling water … what happens to it? It changes the water.

If change/the rise of the machine/AI is the boiling water … which will you be? If you’re not sure, if you need help, or if you don’t know where to start, ask someone you trust … get guidance from a mentor … invest in a coach – and I’m always here to help so let’s chat!

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