ChatGPT arrived in November of 2022, and since then, the concept of artificial intelligence in the workplace has remained firmly fixed in the public eye.
The thing is, while there are many who are willing to see the value of AI, often the focus manifests as concern and worry. Reuters, for instance, reported in July that as many as 27% of jobs in Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries are “at high risk from the AI revolution.”
Interestingly (and importantly!), the publication also clarified that a job was “at highest risk” when it involved more than 25 of the 100 jobs that are most easily automated. In other words, when a worker is doing things that don’t add unique value, they are at risk.
That makes sense, right? If you’re not contributing unique value, you’re more easily replaceable.
This doesn’t need to be cause for alarm, either. Instead, it should be a wake-up call for humans everywhere that it’s time to level up their skills. Rather than wait for computers to take their jobs, professionals at every level of the organization must look for ways to go above and beyond in an effort to elevate their value.
Here are six ways you can do just that.
Everyone has heard of the mantra to “underpromise and overdeliver.” It’s time to take it to heart—especially the overdeliver part of the equation. It’s time to chase that 110% every time you take on a project.
Why? Because AI is really good at achieving a perfect 100% score. Where it comes up short is the ability to see beyond that benchmark and provide extra value that wows others.
AI knows when to start, how fast to go, and when to stop. Barring any software glitches, it will perform precisely when it needs to in a predictable manner.
As a human, you have the upper hand here since you possess the capability to take initiative and be creative. By proactively taking action, you can make progress and generate results before they’re expected. This is a powerful way to demonstrate value that cannot be reproduced by a machine.
The 21st-century work world is overwhelming. Workers spend 28% of their workweeks answering emails. Smartphone users receive dozens of push notifications every day. The remote work world continues to struggle with excessive meetings and interruptions.
To excel, you need to learn to say no to the right things. If your boss needs to talk, obviously make the time. If you’re an executive and a team member has a problem, pick up the phone. However, it’s important to avoid saying yes when a meeting, email, or other notification isn’t necessary. Invest in staying focused on vital work without being distracted by the trivial. This leads to exceptional results.
A professional who excels at their position rarely does so in a vacuum. They don’t perform basic tasks, clock out, and never look beyond their personal responsibilities. That’s automatable behavior.
Instead, those looking to elevate their value must seek out ways to improve those around them. Proactively suggest improvements both inside and outside of your areas of expertise. Don’t be a know-it-all. Instead, provide thoughtful suggestions, experiential advice, and, at times, even simple curiosity as a way to help others develop and succeed around you.
The days of being an effective “Jack of all trades, master of none” are long gone. Those with a menagerie of mediocre skills will find each of these replaced one by one as AI continues to develop.
If you want your professional value to maintain its edge, you need to hone your strengths. Actively develop your personal superpowers. Build on the areas where you can already deliver to keep those results potent and exceptional.
Most companies provide some form of on-the-job training. For a new employee, this might be learning the ropes for a new position. For an executive, it could be learning about a new technology or receiving training regarding a new position.
If you want to enhance your value, you must look beyond these basic learning experiences. Seek advanced knowledge, develop expert skills, glean insights from a mentor, or attend an industry conference. Find ways to accelerate your personal growth, both inside and outside of your company.
The AI revolution is a reality that we all face at the moment. Artificial intelligence is here to stay, and ambitious professionals must seek opportunities to excel alongside computers.
Artificial intelligence is here to stay, and ambitious professionals must seek opportunities to excel alongside computers.
As a professional executive recruitment partner, I’ve seen employees and employers alike grapple with how to handle AI. If one thing remains true throughout all of the ongoing change, it is that those who seek to elevate their contributions at work remain in the best position to excel in both the short and the long term.
William Brewer, CCP, is a Director at Stanton Chase Los Angeles. He is also Stanton Chase’s Global Human Resources Practice Leader. Prior to moving into executive search, Bill had 25 years of experience in corporate human resources. In addition to his executive search career, Bill is an adjunct Professor at the University of Redlands. Bill also serves as a mentor for the MBA program at the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and has been a mentor with the School of Business at the University of Redlands.
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