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This is Not Your Grandmother’s Artificial Intelligence

A new era for leaders everywhere

If you haven’t heard of ChatGPT from OpenAI, you will very soon.
And it will disrupt how you work and how you lead.

What is ChatGPT?
Instead of getting into the nitty gritty details of artificial intelligence, here’s how ChatGPT will impact you:
When you search for something via Google, you enter some text, even a question, and Google lists websites that it thinks you’ll find helpful.  But it doesn’t directly answer your question, which we all know can be a real pain, as you can waste tons of time trying to sift through all the links to find the “best” answer.

ChatGPT doesn’t give you links to websites.  It crafts an answer to your specific question.

Here’s an example:
I asked (typed) ChatGPT, “What’s the one thing all new leaders should know?”
Here’s its answer:
“One thing that all new leaders should know is that effective leadership involves setting a clear vision and direction for their team, communicating that vision effectively, and empowering their team members to take ownership of their work and contribute to achieving the team’s goals. This requires a combination of strong interpersonal skills, the ability to think strategically, and a willingness to listen to and learn from others. It’s also important for new leaders to be adaptable and able to navigate changing circumstances and challenges, as well as to be able to inspire and motivate their team to work towards common goals.”

And that answer came back in less than 5 seconds.
Again, this is not a copy and paste job from content found on some website.  This is an answer developed by ChatGPT based on the specific question I asked it.

I then asked ChatGPT, “What’s the best way for leaders to provide feedback?”
Here’s its answer:
“The best way for leaders to provide feedback depends on the situation and the individuals involved. In general, effective feedback should be specific, timely, and actionable. It should focus on behaviors and actions that can be changed, rather than on personality traits or other characteristics that are difficult to alter.

Here are a few key steps that leaders can follow when providing feedback:

  1. Start by expressing your support and commitment to the individual. This can help to build trust and establish a positive foundation for the feedback.
  2. Be specific and provide specific examples to illustrate the points you are making. This will help the individual to understand exactly what you are trying to communicate.
  3. Focus on behaviors and actions that can be changed, rather than on personality traits or other characteristics that are difficult to alter.
  4. Be timely and provide feedback as soon as possible after the event or behavior in question. This will help the individual to remember the situation and make any necessary changes.
  5. Provide actionable recommendations for improvement. This will help the individual to know what steps to take in order to improve.

Overall, the key is to provide constructive feedback that helps the individual to grow and develop in their role, while also supporting and empowering them to succeed.”

Again, all in less than 5 seconds.

I next tried something a bit more “fuzzy” or vague: “What are key steps in successful succession planning?”
“Successful succession planning typically involves several key steps, including identifying and developing potential successors, creating a plan for transitioning leadership roles, and providing ongoing support and mentorship for new leaders. Some specific steps that may be involved in the process include:

  1. Identifying key leadership roles and the skills and abilities required for success in those roles.
  2. Identifying and evaluating potential successors, both from within the organization and from outside, and providing development opportunities to help them gain the skills and experience they need.
  3. Creating a plan for transitioning leadership roles, including timelines, key milestones, and support mechanisms for new leaders.
  4. Providing ongoing support and mentorship to new leaders, including access to resources, training, and guidance as needed.
  5. Regularly reviewing and updating the succession plan to ensure that it remains aligned with the organization’s goals and needs.

Overall, the goal of succession planning is to ensure that the organization has a pipeline of capable and well-prepared leaders who are ready to take on new roles and responsibilities as needed.”

Clearly, these three answers are head and shoulders above Google’s “Here’s an endless list of links to websites (some paid for by their owners) for you to click on and sift through endlessly.”  ChatGPT is able to solve math and other science questions, correct/debug computer code that is flawed, find themes and patterns in text and data, write essays and articles, and do so much more.

The Sibling of DALL-E 2
FYI, ChatGPT is brought to you by the same company that developed DALL-E 2, a text-to-image engine.  The photo above was created using DALL-E 2 and the expression, “Vincent Van Gogh self-portrait, but as a business leader in 2022”.  I typed that text, and out came that image.  It’s not a photograph.  It’s not “real”.  It was created by DALL-E 2.  The image from the most recent 60-Second Read was similarly created.  And given the season, here’s another DALL-E 2 example of a Pixar-y Santa Claus.  Again, all from text to image in seconds.

More Useful than an Address Book
I’m old enough to remember that when PCs first came out, people wondered, “What will I do with it?”  And a common answer was, “You could put all your addresses in it, and never again have to buy a new address book.” (Yes, back then they sold you a book to list all your friends in; obviously this was before we each had 1,000+ “friends” or connections on social media.)

Where we go from here with AI and the likes of ChatGPT is obviously now a different question and matter.  How the AI is trained, the chance for potential bias or criminal and harmful use, and the resulting impact are all valid concerns.

But for now, just be aware that the machines aren’t coming.  They’re already here.
And in a very, very profound way.