Will artificial intelligence make you a better leader?  

7 May 2018:

Consider this real-life scene: Reflecting on the difficult moments of his week, the new CEO of a UK manufacturer felt angry. His attention kept going back to the tension in several executive-team meetings. He had an urge to shake the team and push several of its members, who were riven by old conflicts, to stop fighting and start collaborating to solve the company’s real problems. He also sensed, though, that a brute-force approach was unlikely to get very far, or to yield the creative insights that the company desperately needed to keep up with its fast-changing competitive environment. Instead, he calmed himself, stopped blaming his team, and asked himself whether he could break the logjam by pursuing truly new approaches to the company’s problems. It was then that his mind turned to, of all things, artificial intelligence.

Like many leaders, the CEO was struggling to cope with the stress induced by uncertainty, rising complexity, and rapid change. All of these are part and parcel of today’s business environment, which is different enough from the one many of us grew up with to challenge our well-grooved leadership approaches. In a recent article, we described five practices that can help you step back from the tried and true and become more inwardly agile (see “Leading with inner agility”). Here, we want to describe the relationship between some of those ideas and a technology that at first glance seems to add complexity but in fact can be a healing balm: artificial intelligence (AI), which we take to span the next generation of advanced data and analytics applications. Inner agility and AI may sound like strange bedfellows, but when you consider crucial facts about the latter, you can see its potential to help you lead with clarity, specificity, and creativity.

The first crucial fact about AI is that you don’t know ahead of time what the data will reveal. By its very nature, AI is a leap of faith, just as embracing your ignorance and radical reframing are. And like learning to let go, listening to AI can help you find genuinely novel, disruptive insights in surprising and unexpected places.

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Source: McKinsey

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