How the New AI ChatGPT Can Help Executives Take the Time to Be Human

How the New AI ChatGPT Can Help Executives Take the Time to Be Human

For the past week, I’ve been experimenting with the hot new version of ChatGPT to see how it could save an executive’s scarcest resource: time.

When OpenAI launched the AI ​​chatbot in late November, it immediately drew millions of users with breathless predictions about its potential to disrupt business models and workplaces.

It certainly promises to fulfill a prediction I made in my 2019 book The Human Edge, which examines the skills needed in a world of artificial intelligence and digitization. I predicted, “…AI can give us more free time by automating the stupid things we currently have to do, thereby reducing our cognitive load.”

The price is clear for executives. Use ChatGPT to free up hours each week for simple tasks. Then redirect that time to highly effective skills that are better suited to humans. Activities like:

  • Ask curious questions
  • Communicate purpose, vision, strategy and values
  • support collaboration
  • catalyze learning
  • Encouraging creative thinking and innovation

ChatGPT is not a revolution. However, it is a significant development. This free online resource does the same job as previous AI assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa, only better. Crucially, the bot remembers previous replies in the same conversation. This allows him to adapt and respond more meaningfully to follow-up questions. The result is eerily like intelligent, soaring dialogue.

The old cliché says that leadership is a lonely place. For time-stressed managers, this AI means they have access to a free, confidential, and well-informed advisor. Over time, ChatGPT will evolve to support the work of functional departments such as HR, communications and marketing. In the long term, this could mean the end of many executive assistant roles.

Executive use cases include faster research and brainstorming to generate ideas for team learning, business development, and strategy. Many will use it to speed up the creation of content they need every day: emails, talking points, and presentations. The AI ​​supports the entire writing process: outline, edit, proofread and summarize. Smart leaders will use the time saved to connect with colleagues and customers on a human level.

ChatGPT supports a performance check

To stress-test ChatGPT, I came up with a scenario for a standard, nerve-wracking leadership challenge: leadership of an underperforming colleague.

Here it is:

Olivia is a team leader who needs to hire a colleague who works remotely.

Liam has consistently missed important deadlines, citing mental health issues and family issues in the process.

Olivia wants to discuss these issues with Liam in a personal performance review.

I asked ChatGPT to draft the first email to start the process. Here’s what appeared in just a few seconds.

What surprised me about the AI ​​text was how close it could be to a final version. If Olivia had asked an intern or executive assistant to write the first draft of this email, would it have been just as accurate, error-free, and editable? I doubt it.

A key next step for Olivia is preparing for meeting Liam. I asked ChatGPT to create an agenda to keep the emotionally tense conversation on track. It was a bit wordy, so I asked the AI ​​to create a summary (below) for Olivia to use as a cheat sheet in the meeting. As a coach I was impressed by the common sense.

To help Olivia anticipate how her make-or-break meeting might go, I asked ChatGPT to offer three explanations Liam could offer for the missed deadlines. Here’s what appeared.

A tool, not a substitute

I would not advise using ChatGPT without judgment and discretion. Blindly outsourcing your emails and meetings to ChatGPT is an accident waiting to happen. It’s also critical that leaders must infuse their authentic style into all of their communication.

This tool can hasten the start of a thought process, even if it soon becomes overwhelmed. For example, what happens when Liam reveals a complex issue in the review meeting? Olivia needs to use her experience, empathy and intuition to have this conversation.

ChatGPT has yet to learn of world events after 2021, which was the last time it received training information. Like most chatbots, it also occasionally generates weird and incorrect responses. However, if it can provide such credible material for a delicate performance review, it must be helpful in automating more everyday communication.

Social media is full of amazingly creative uses for this AI, including writing rap lyrics, generating food recipes, and creating new brand names. For my work as a coach, author and facilitator of leadership teams, I plan to continue experimenting through 2023. Please test yourself here and let me know how you get on.

The clock is always ticking for busy executives. ChatGPT helps with the heavy work at the beginning of a project, with processes and even with tricky staffing issues. But it’s not a replacement for thought, just the latest AI tool to make us more productive – so we can find the time to be more human.

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