Change, while many of us find it uncomfortable, is certainly
inevitable. As this wise quote attributed to American actor Will Rogers notes, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll
get run over if you just sit there.”
Several of the world’s top businesses have lost their former glory for
being unable to adapt to rapid changes in technologies and customer demand for
new experiences. For example, we see the music record industry is struggling to
stay relevant in the new digital market. Analysts tell us that it was not streaming
music that killed the record production business, but it was the industry’s failure
to anticipate how much people valued a personalized music experience that they
had control over.
Yet people continue to resist change and find it hard to accept. What
we find is that people generally react to change either with feelings of anxiety or excitement.
Anxiety comes from people’s fear of the unknown. People resist change
and hesitate to engage change because it is unpredictable, complex, and risky. Resistance
to change, however, is not necessarily bad because it shows that people think
and process the disruptions brought about by change. What is harmful would be the
denial of change.
Change can make people feel insecure and vulnerable. These are rational
reactions in moments of uncertainty such as when people see how new
technologies begin to augment labor and production. Indeed, one of the many
fears we hear from people is the potential massive unemployment to be brought
about by the automation of work through Artificial Intelligence (AI).
A recently published study by the MIT Sloan School of Management titled “Toward Understanding the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Labor” reports that “technology improves to make human labor more efficient, but large improvements may yield deleterious effects for employment.”
Doomsayer perspectives hold that AI or bots will result in technological unemployment, where human
workers are replaced and displaced. This perspective produces anxiety and tends
to overlook an important point: The same
digital world that challenges us also provides real opportunities and rewards.
On the other hand, with an optimist perspective, we are able to frame reality with a mindset empowered to
cultivate excitement instead of anxiety and create a culture of eager lifelong
learners who will remain curious and ready to take on new challenges.
As People Managers, we create opportunities to enable culture-driven
changethat effectively integrates diverse
cultures, encourages continuous learning, and fosters innovative thinking. By
placing a premium on people and interactions, rather than on established processes
and systems, we will cultivate a growth mindset – one that is responsive and
resilient to unforeseen disruptions.
Indeed, our organizations stand to create and gain more meaningful
value when leaders and employees co-create and collaborate to develop and grow a
vision-driven, people-centered company culture where initiative, openness,
creativity, flexibility, optimism, and persistence are encouraged and nurtured,
where passion for excellence and commitment to innovation are valued,
recognized, and rewarded.
In his recent April 25 interview in BBC World’s Talking Business, Teleperformance Founder, Chairman, and CEO Daniel Julien categorically stated that the next five years will see greater collaboration between humans and AI. Daniel addressed the fear over technological unemployment with TP’s unique concept of AI as assisted intelligence, combining human touch and artificial intelligence.
As the global leader in the customer experience management industry,
Teleperformance’s visionary leadership puts in clear context the role of bots in
providing hi-tech and cost-efficient solutions, empowering human agents to
focus more on high-value workthat
addresses the rational, emotional, and assurance needs of customers.
This means that people are given more opportunities to learn and
acquire new expertise using creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills
which are crucial in the use and implementation of AI-based or AI-assisted
tools and processes, and in the creation of innovation.
As change leaders, we must influence our people to cultivate a growth
mindset and build a culture that stimulates their own initiative to develop
their capability to face changes proactively and positively. We need to keep
tapping into the intrinsic motivation of every individual to excel and succeed,
so together we can make change work for our mutual benefit.
Beyond anticipating change, we must
lead change. By doing this, we wrest our future from the whims of outside
forces and empower ourselves to drive our own trajectory towards the targets we
have set for ourselves. Today, as has always been the case, the future is in
our own hands and in our own mindset.