Just a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Cape Town, South Africa, while attending the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Leadership Conference (#EOGLC2023). As a member of this organization since 2005, I’ve had my fair share of breakthroughs, both personally and professionally. This year was no different. However, this time around, the most compelling message reverberating throughout the conference was clear:
“The future is here, and it’s powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).”
I couldn’t help but reflect on my experiences as the Learning Chair for the EO University Mexico City in 2017 and the EO University San Francisco in 2018. In both these cities, we had the honor of hosting visionaries like Salim Ismail and the forward-thinking team from #SingularityUniversity. They all prophesied a technological revolution on the horizon. Now, in Cape Town, the future they spoke of was unfolding right before our eyes.
As I absorbed the insights shared at the conference, one realization became increasingly clear: AI isn’t a threat to leadership. Instead, it’s an invitation to reimagine and transform what effective leadership truly means. Let me share some reflections on this:
· Adaptability and Agility: The realm of AI is as exciting as it is unpredictable. Leaders must be ready to pivot, adjusting their strategies and approaches as technology evolves.
· Strategic Use of AI: Leaders must discern where AI can add value to their organization and implement it strategically. Not all AI tools serve a purpose in every business context.
· Data Literacy: As AI draws its strength from data, leaders must become fluent in data interpretation, analysis, and utilization. Data literacy is no longer a luxury but a leadership necessity.
· Emphasizing Emotional Intelligence: As AI takes over more routine tasks, skills like empathy, creativity, communication, and decision-making become more vital. Leaders must focus on enhancing their emotional intelligence.
· Ethical Decision Making: With great power comes great responsibility. Leaders must be aware of the ethical implications of AI, including privacy, bias, and job displacement, and ensure their decisions reflect these considerations.
· Collaborative Mindset: AI doesn’t replace humans; it augments them. Leaders should promote a collaborative mindset, viewing AI as a tool to enhance human capabilities, not a threat.
· Fostering an AI-Ready Culture: Leaders should create an environment within their organizations that is ready to embrace AI. This includes promoting AI literacy, addressing fears and misconceptions about AI, and facilitating initiatives to upskill or reskill employees.
The trajectory from Mexico City to San Francisco to Cape Town has been a journey of learning and reflection for me. I’ve come to believe that the rise of AI isn’t a challenge to leadership but an evolution of it. It calls for us to redefine our roles, to embrace change, and to continuously learn and grow.
My experiences have taught me that the key to thriving in this AI-dominated era is to keep learning, keep adapting, and above all, keep leading with humanity at the heart of our decisions. Because, at the end of the day, it is not AI that leads businesses, it’s us.