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Workplace Culture and Innovation

Workplace Culture: How to Leverage Innovation No AI Bot Can Replace

by | Apr 24, 2023 | By Karin Hurt and David Dye |

The Power of Workplace Culture in an AI Universe: A virtual conversation about Empathy and Innovation

Note: This article on Workplace Culture is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of our book, Courageous Culture: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates. And, for grins and remarkably accurate insights, ChatGPT weighs in with commentary at the end.

Thoughts on AI and Workplace Culture

If your business includes work that is repetitive, routine, or structured in a predictable setting, you face competitive pressure to automate that work—if you haven’t already. Technology is commoditizing many products and services, and “easy” jobs are going away.  According to a Pew Research study experts predict robots and digital agents powered by artificial intelligence will significantly displace blue-collar and white-collar jobs by 2025.

More restaurants are moving toward tablet-based ordering; banks are closing branches as consumers prefer to do easy transactions online; and even healthcare visits are being reduced by remote monitoring. In some circumstances, your customers may be delighted at the efficiency while you’re also saving time and money. With so much being automated and quality service and products becoming the default price of admission, how do you differentiate your business from your competition?

The secret to surviving and thriving in the automation revolution is in what computers can’t replace: human creativity, empathy, and critical thinking—especially in unpredictable environments. Leading in the automation revolution isn’t about what you can control; it’s about what you can create and contribute. How often are your employees speaking up with creativity, empathy, and problem-solving? In too many businesses, the answer is “not nearly enough.” If you want a competitive edge, you’ve got to tap into your team’s human potential to do what humans do best—connect and create.

Connect

Computers may be able to “think,” but we’ve never met one who can feel. Empathy can’t be outsourced to computers.

It’s the humans who can pay close attention to the frustration points and figure out how to make it better.

What ticks off your customers?

What’s annoying your team?

Why are your peers so demoralized?

And what really needs to be done to fix all that?

The impact of AI isn’t limited to employees. AI is changing how workers trust and engage with their managers—and connection is at the heart of these changes.

Some workers prefer AI (think voice-assistant chatbots) to get information on topics like company policies, health insurance, and their remaining vacation days. These are areas where machines excel: providing accurate information quickly. But people still turn to human managers who can understand how they feel, coach them in their careers, and build culture.

When connection matters, there’s no substitute for a human being.

Create

Let’s say your AI system tells you thirty-seven thousand of your customers used profanity to describe a recent transaction.

Ouch. That’s really important data, but what do you do next? It’s the humans who can understand what’s going on from a human perspective and work to solve the problem. Do your teams have the skills they need to contribute at that level?

When the easy work is automated, will your managers know how to draw out the best solutions from their teams? Do your front-line employees feel encouraged to speak up and share solutions? Do employees at all levels have the critical thinking skills to get to the root cause? If you’re not sure, you’re not alone. According to a recent Price Waterhouse Cooper CEO survey, 77 percent of CEOs say they struggle to find the creativity and innovation they need.

When you build a dynamic culture that leverages humanity to solve problems, respond to customers, and adapt to change, you build a strong foundation to survive—and thrive—in the automation revolution.

ChatGPT’s Thoughts on AI, Empathy, and Innovation in Workplace Culture

So here’s what we asked ChatGPT about AI, empathy, and innovation when building a workplace culture.

We asked:

“One challenge we see with an over-reliance on AI in the workplace is that it can’t replace the uniquely human qualities of empathy and innovation. What’s your perspective on that?”

As an AI language model, I can certainly understand the potential limitations of over-reliance on AI in the workplace. While AI can be incredibly useful for automating repetitive or routine tasks, it can’t replace the uniquely human qualities of empathy and innovation.

Empathy is a fundamental human quality that allows us to connect with and understand others’ emotions and perspectives. It enables us to build relationships, solve problems collaboratively, and create meaningful work. While AI can analyze data and provide insights, it can’t replicate the emotional intelligence required to truly empathize with others.

Similarly, innovation is driven by human creativity, imagination, and the ability to think outside the box. While AI can be programmed to identify patterns and generate new ideas based on existing data, it can’t replicate the unique human ability to see possibilities that don’t yet exist.

That said, I don’t believe that AI is inherently in conflict with empathy and innovation. In fact, AI can be a powerful tool to augment these qualities by providing insights and freeing up time for humans to focus on more creative and empathetic work. It’s all about finding the right balance between the strengths of AI and the strengths of human workers.

Ultimately, the best approach is likely to be a collaborative one, where AI and humans work together to achieve shared goals. By combining the strengths of both, we can create a more effective and efficient workplace that values both empathy and innovation.

Your Perspective?

We would love to hear from you. What are the vital human qualities AI can’t replace? What are your best practices for building a human-centered workplace culture?

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!

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Karin Hurt and David Dye

Karin Hurt and David Dye help human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results. As CEO and President of Let’s Grow Leaders, they are known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. Karin and David are the award-winning authors of five books including, Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. David Dye is a former executive and elected official. Karin and David are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

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BUILD CONFIDENCE, TRUST AND CONNECTION  WITH CONSISTENT ACTS OF MANAGERIAL COURAGE

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7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

Be More Daring

BUILD CONFIDENCE, TRUST AND CONNECTION WITH CONSISTENT ACTS OF MANAGERIAL COURAGE

Get the FREE Courageous Cultures E-Book to learn how

7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

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