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    Welcome to our last Humanity Working Newsletter of the year!

    This episode: How a much shorter to do list can help you get more done. Plus: Workforce Readiness for AI, and how to give and receive feedback effectively.

    Adapting to AI

    Over the last year, we’ve been hard at work on a new program – AI Readiness, which is formally launching in early 2024. Our focus with this program is not just to be an AI primer, but instead to get into the practicality of how employees (and their companies) can thrive by making AI an integral part of their daily work.

    We have built this program in the same way we do all of our programs – combining academic research and practical knowledge with our own primary research into what employees are doing well, and where they are struggling. Our goal is not to make everyone an AI expert, but instead to help employees understand how they can use AI in ways that help them get more done in less time, reduce work related stress, and minimize the risk to themselves and their employers.

    Here are most interesting lessons we learned in developing the program.

    Generative AI familiarity has increased dramatically…but still varies wildly

    When we started developing this program, we found that while many people knew of the existence of tools like Chat-GPT, few people could accurately describe what it was, and fewer still had any direct experience of using it. In fact, it was not uncommon for employees to agree with the statement “I’ve never encountered any form of AI” even though AI was embedded into many of the systems they used daily. That’s changed massively over the last 12 months, and now around 75% of people we talk to have at least some direct knowledge of generative AI, and around a quarter are using tools like Chat-GPT frequently.

    Despite this usage, most people are still unable to describe with any accuracy how these tools work, and most are also unsure about what the capabilities and limitations are of these tools. This is leading to some lingering FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

    Prompt Engineering is entering the mainstream, but many think that’s all there is to Generative AI

    If you spend any time on LinkedIn, you will probably see a ton of prompt engineering guides. In case you are unfamiliar with the term – it refers to the process of designing your inputs into tools like Chat-GPT to ensure the output is optimized for relevance, accuracy and utility. A simpler way of putting it is that prompt engineering is asking the right questions to get the best answers.

    When we started our work, almost nobody had even heard of prompt engineering. Today, many people have read at least one guide, and even if they have not, they have learned how to ask better questions through trial and error.

    But even though people are getting better at asking AI the right questions, they often fall into the trap of thinking that there is little more to engaging with AI than just asking the right questions. Even today, most of us give little thought to how they should integrate AI into their workflow, how they can fact check it, how they can ensure its increasing the quality of their work, and how they can make sure it’s not putting them at increased risk.

    Organizations are confused about what generative AI means for them…and will mean

    Almost all employers love the idea of doing more with less, and generative AI absolutely comes with that promise. But right now, it’s a bit of a wild west out there. Employees are using the tools as they see fit, and with little to no guardrails. Today, your company risks violating privacy and security policies, infringing on copyright, and making business decisions based on inaccurate information.

    Most tech startups are comfortable with the idea of “moving fast and breaking things” but that doesn’t mean every organization is. Some companies are responding to all this by “banning AI” (which doesn’t actually work in most cases), others by ignoring the risks, but very few have fully thought about how to use AI well.

    There is even more confusion as to what all this will mean in the next 1-2 years. That is hardly surprising with the field moving so fast. There is SOME awareness that the key is to make sure that employees have the adaptability and resilience to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of whatever is yet to come, but not enough yet.

    If you would like to learn more about our upcoming AI readiness program, send me a message, or respond in the comments section below.


    The Joy (and Perils) of Feedback

    As we are at the end of the year, you may have already had your end-of-year review. Hopefully, it went well, but if you are like most people, you didn’t particularly enjoy the “feedback” section.

    Early in our careers we are taught that feedback is a gift – that responding well to all feedback (especially negative feedback) is an essential part of being a professional at work. All that is true, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Nobody particularly enjoys being reminded of the things they do badly, and for some of us, negative feedback brings up painful memories of when criticism was associated with other more deeply traumatic experiences.

    All of us give and receive feedback at various points in our lives, so this week I’ve written an article that captures some best practices on how to do both of these things well.

    You can read the article here, and of course I’d love your feedback on it!

    The Must Do List

    Length of Video: 2 mins

    If you’ve noticed your work to-do lists getting longer and longer, you are not alone. As work has got more unstructured and ambiguous, most of the employees and leaders we work with at BillionMinds report an ever-increasing list of stuff to get done.

    But of course, if your to-do lists are constantly increasing, it must mean that at least some of the items on it are not getting done, and probably never will be. That can feel uncomfortable, and in some cases lead to greater challenges like anxiety and burnout.

    A method I’ve seen work well is to change your daily focus away from a to-do list, and towards something I call a must-do list, which my animated twin below describes.

    Give it a go and let me know how it works out!

    About Us

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