Hot Topic Friday: Sept. 13




Happy Friday the 13th! Here are my Sept. 13 Hot Topics and how they relate to advancing culture or leadership. 

Hot Topic 1: What if We Didn’t Fear Robots Replacing Us? 

Source: Harvard Business Review

What It’s About: This article is about the reality of AI/Machine Learning/robotics replacing jobs, but with an optimistic twist. As the article emphasizes: “Knowledge workers will not escape. Recently, the CEO of Deutsche Bank predicted that half of its 97,000 employees could be replaced by robots. One survey revealed that 39 percent of jobs in the legal sector could be automated in the next 10 years. Separate research has concluded that accountants have a 95% percent chance of losing their jobs to automation in the future.” However we need to remind ourselves the point of technology is to boost productivity, not cut the workforce. Although it can obviously feel that way if robots start taking our jobs without an alternative strategy. 

Why It’s Important: The most proactive folks are not sitting on their hands, waiting to see how technology lands in their environment. The best companies have assigned people to strategically plan for the future of work. They want technology driving productivity, and humans to move to more value-added roles. And thoughtful employees need to get their heads out of a “hope it doesn’t happen to me” posture, and start reskilling or upskilling NOW! Technology itself doesn’t displace people. Leaders decide. Be one! At the beginning and end of every job killing robot, is human creativity, compassion, imagination and strategy that is difficult for technology to replace. We humans will always have the advantage of these attributes.

Hot Topic 2: Assign C-Level Roles to Reskilling… NOW! 

Source: Harvard Business Review/McKinsey

What It’s About: Continuing with the topic above, the author argues for leading companies to immediately assign a C-level role to reskilling/upskilling the workforce. Historically, companies have effectively done this for emerging learning systems that require urgent focus (albeit for usually short time periods), like VP of Quality, VP Lean Systems, etc. “The spread of automation and artificial intelligence is prompting some of the biggest companies — including Amazon, JPMorgan, Chase, SAP, Walmart, and AT&T, to name just a few — to take action, not with small pilots but with comprehensive plans to retrain large segments of their workforces. These programs signal that the ‘future of work’ is no longer an event on the distant horizon.” 

Why It’s Important: I want to emphasize the conclusion of Hot Topic 1. Don’t just watch what the big guys are doing. Start doing something about it in your organization NOW. Furthermore, look to partner with entrepreneurial post-secondary institutions. If there ever was a time for business and post-secondary colleges to partner for new business/education models, it’s TODAY. Come to think of it, I work at a post-secondary with the title of Chief Culture and Transformation Officer. Hmm. Maybe that’s one reason I’m there? Perhaps I can demonstrate how I might put my money where my mouth is? Stay tuned! What will you do? 

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Vivino):

Ninety Nine Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

[Picture and ratings provided by Vivino].

And finally! Here’s Cecil’s Bleat of the Week!

“I don’t think there’s a shortage of material in the world. Or in my head. I just pray for continued good health, because I’ve got other stories to tell.”Richard Russo

Bye for now!

– Lorne Rubis

Incase you Missed It:

My latest Lead In podcast.  

My latest blog.

Season 3 of Culture Cast

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