Technology is a constantly evolving entity, one that penetrates every aspect of leadership, business and life, bringing significant progress and change. How might leaders meet the challenges of the age of AI and wield technological disruption to their – and their people’s – advantage?
Early in my career, I received an excellent piece of advice: to surround myself with people who are smarter than me. I am a huge proponent of the ways in which technology and AI are helping leaders to connect and work with the world’s smartest people, no matter where they are located. The past year’s global move towards remote work and leadership at a distance shows just how technology has overcome past constraints.
An article published by the World Economic Forum in 2018 explains that ‘The challenge for leadership is to deploy new technologies in ways that not only yield fresh efficiencies, but also to amplify human creativity, ingenuity and judgement. Augmenting leadership with technology will greatly increase leaders’ ability to meet that challenge, and so achieve real future prosperity.’
At Discovery, we strive to hire the best person for every role. We’re guided by these equations:
|ego||IQ||Honesty + Integrity|
EQ refers to one’s emotional intelligence quotient – the capacity for understanding and managing our emotions in a way that impacts positively on ourselves and others. Will we need to reconsider our second equation – the need for EQ to equal IQ – in future? I think so.
Ironically, with every stride made towards more deeply entrenching technology into our businesses and lives, we reinforce the importance of so-called soft (human) skills. Artificial intelligence (AI) lets us build machines that automate and complete hard skills more efficiently than humans do. However, AI cannot replace the human capacity for intelligence that is pinned to emotion. And this fundamentally underpins the success of any business.
A late 2020 Forbes article predicts the nine soft skills every employee needs in the age of AI to be emotional intelligence, creativity, analytical thinking, interpersonal communication, a growth mindset, judgement and decision-making, leadership skills, cultural intelligence (navigate diversity) and the ability to embrace change.
Yes, technology has its downsides. The proliferation of fake news and misleading content in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic drives this point home. In an always-on world where speed of access to information runs roughshod over truth, leaders have a massive responsibility to guide their people through the morass.
To lead in the age of AI, we must practise Viktor Frankl’s advice: ‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.’
Brett Tromp CA(SA)
CFO of Discovery Health