How to talk about AI

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The rise of AI presents opportunities and challenges for all kinds of companies.

One of your key roles as a leader, is to thoughtfully guide your team through this transition.

By openly addressing concerns, providing proper training, and casting a vision for integrating AI, you can rally your people and unlock the full potential that the new technologies provide.

Given the rapid rate of change and wider unknowns about the impact of AI, the path forward can seem unclear — change comes with risks and opportunities alike.

Based on interviews with numerous companies, we’ve seen that taking a collaborative approach with your team can help set you up for success. As part of this it’s crucial to understand and address your team’s perspectives and concerns.

As a starting point, here are some common questions your team may have regarding the use of AI in your business.

By communicating and developing solutions as a united front, you can expect a smoother integration of AI that benefits your people, customers, and company mission.

Common concerns from staff about AI

When thinking about communicating with your team, here’s a list of common areas you may need to address.

Job Security:

  • Will AI replace my job or reduce the number of positions available?

The question of whether AI will replace jobs or reduce the number of positions available is one that many people are asking. It’s a valid concern, and one we should address honestly.

Let’s start by saying this: change is inevitable in any industry. Technological advancements have always brought shifts in the job market, and AI is no different. However, it doesn’t mean that these changes are necessarily negative or lead to job loss.

Adopting AI can indeed automate some tasks that were traditionally done by humans. But instead of seeing this as a threat, we should view it as an opportunity for growth and progression. When we automate routine tasks, it frees up time for more complex and creative endeavors. This means that roles might shift towards areas where human input is crucial – things like strategic thinking, creativity, empathy and leadership.

Moreover, the rise of AI opens up entirely new roles and industries that did not exist before! Just think about all the jobs related to managing AI systems or data analysis which have emerged recently.

In conclusion, while some roles might evolve or change as we adopt more AI technologies, it doesn’t mean they will disappear completely. Instead, we should see it as a chance to grow both personally and professionally in exciting new directions! Let’s embrace the change together with optimism and resilience!

  • How will my job role change with the integration of AI?

The integration of AI at our company is at a nascent stage, and we envision this journey to be a collaborative one, involving our entire team. While AI might automate certain routine tasks, it will also open up new possibilities for your role, enabling you to focus more on creative, strategic, and decision-making aspects. We’re committed to supporting all team members through any transitions, providing necessary training and opportunities to grow alongside the company’s technological evolution. We value your expertise and look forward to navigating this exciting journey together, ensuring that our team remains integral to our success.

Training and Skill Development:

  • Will the company provide training on how to use and interact with AI systems?

Absolutely, the question of whether the company will provide training on how to use and interact with AI systems is a valid one. We understand that adopting new technology can sometimes be daunting, and we want to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and confident in using it.

Our goal is not only to introduce AI into our operations but also to create an environment where everyone understands its functions, benefits, and potential challenges. Therefore, training sessions will indeed be part of this implementation process.

These sessions will cover everything from understanding basic aspects of AI to how you can best use these tools in your daily tasks. We’ll break down all the components into manageable chunks so that no one feels overwhelmed. Plus, support will always be available even post-training because we believe in continuous learning.

In truth, there might be a few bumps along the way as we all get accustomed to these new systems. But remember – every step taken is progress and growth for both you as an individual and us as a company. With time, patience, practice and open communication channels for any questions or issues that might arise, we’ll surmount these hurdles together as a team.

In summary: Yes! Training is not just expected – it’s necessary for success. And it’s important to remember that learning something new always comes with its challenges – but those challenges are stepping stones on the path of personal growth and development.

  • How can I up-skill to stay relevant in an AI-augmented workplace?

Here are some suggestions on upskilling to stay relevant as we integrate more AI:

  • Take advantage of AI training programs and resources that I will make available to the team. Having foundational knowledge will help you better understand how AI systems function.
  • Attend industry events and seminars to stay on top of AI trends and use cases relevant to our work. I’m happy to cover costs for any educational opportunities.
  • Consider getting certified through programs like those offered by AWS, Google Cloud, and other tech providers. Certifications help validate your AI expertise.
  • Learn by doing – as we pilot AI internally, engage actively, ask questions, and get hands-on with the technology. Nothing builds skills better than direct experience.
  • Find a mentor who is experienced with AI applications and can guide your learning. Learning from others’ knowledge can accelerate your growth.
  • Stay curious. Read articles, listen to podcasts, play with tools, and continuously build your AI knowledge base. Sign up for newsletters tailored to our industry.
  • Focus on expanding skills like business analysis, data science, design thinking, and technical writing – these will remain crucial in an AI-enabled workplace.
  • Proactively communicate with managers about your interests in developing AI capabilities so that appropriate opportunities can be provided.

The future of work is one where humans and AI complement each other. Developing your AI literacy will ensure you remain invaluable. Let me know how I can best support your learning and growth.

Usage and Implementation:

  • How will AI be used in our daily operations?

The introduction of AI into our daily operations is all about improving efficiency and productivity, while also creating a more satisfying work experience. Just like how smartphones revolutionised our personal lives, making things easier and more convenient, AI has the potential to do the same for our work.

Imagine a day where routine tasks are automated, leaving you with more time to focus on strategic and creative thinking. For instance, AI could help in sorting through large amounts of data swiftly, identifying trends or patterns that might take us days to uncover. This would help us make informed decisions faster.

However, it’s important to remember that AI is a tool – it won’t replace us. It’s here to assist us in doing our jobs better. It can take over repetitive tasks, but it can’t replicate human ingenuity or creativity.

Adopting AI will also involve learning new skills and adapting to new ways of working. But don’t worry! We’ll provide all the necessary training and support needed for this transition. This shift could be a remarkable opportunity for personal growth and development.

There might be some bumps along the way as we adapt to these changes, but together we can turn those challenges into opportunities for innovation and improvement.

  • Who will be responsible for managing and maintaining the AI systems?

To ensure our AI systems function reliably and safely, we will need to establish clear roles across multiple teams. An AI operations group will handle day-to-day management like monitoring performance, addressing technical issues, and coordinating efforts. Our data scientists will be responsible for ongoing model tuning, retraining, and enhancements to maintain accuracy over time. Legal and compliance will define ethical guidelines that technical teams must follow. And a cross-functional AI oversight committee will govern policies, standards, and strategic direction.

While specific responsibilities will be delegated to experts, management of AI cannot fall to technical roles alone. Our executive leadership retains ultimate accountability, and all employees interacting with these systems play a part in providing feedback on risks or issues. By distributing responsibilities across technical teams, business stakeholders, legal/compliance and leadership, instituting checks and balances, and keeping open communication channels, we can collaborate to ensure our AI upholds our standards for ethics, safety and performance. Please share your thoughts on optimal structure for AI accountability.

Data Privacy and Ethics:

  • How will the company ensure the ethical use of AI?

Ethical AI practices should be a top priority for us as a company. To start, we’ll need to align on our AI ethics principles and goals. I suggest we have a kickoff meeting to discuss our shared values and use that to develop a concise set of ethical guidelines for all AI work. We should revisit these often as new use cases emerge.

For development, we can adopt some fundamental best practices like documenting our data sources, metrics, and intended use cases. Performing spot checks on data and reviewing outputs manually will help detect issues early while we build out more robust auditing processes. We should also leverage free online bias mitigation toolkits to the extent possible.

Collaborating with other teams and external experts will help strengthen our efforts. Our product team can help design simple opt-out flows for users. Our legal/compliance partners can advise on relevant regulations. And our customer support team can be a feedback channel for any AI issues. There may also be partnerships with academics and ethical AI groups worth exploring.

Most importantly, we need to foster an ethical mindset day-to-day. I suggest we incorporate ethics checkpoints into agile ceremonies and reviews. We can nominate an ethics lead to advocate for users. And engineers should feel empowered to flag potential issues, even if it delays projects. There will be hard tradeoffs at times, but it’s crucial we build trust and transparency.

Scaling this over time may require dedicated roles and infrastructure. But starting with the basics and embedding ethical thinking into all we do will set the right foundation. Let me know how else we can thoughtfully uphold ethics while making progress.

  • What measures will be taken to protect our data and the data of our clients?

Safeguarding data will be a top priority as we adopt AI technologies. We will take a multi-layered approach to data protection:

  • Encryption – Any sensitive data used to train or operate AI will be encrypted at rest and in transit per industry best practices.
  • Access controls – We will limit data access to only those required and implement the principle of least privilege. Strict authentication protocols will be enforced.
  • Anonymisation – Where possible, we will scrub personally identifiable information from data sets before use in AI systems.
  • Third-party reviews – External audits of our security environment will help identify and address potential vulnerabilities.
  • Compliance certification – We will evaluate relevant compliance standards like ISO 27001 and aim to incorporate these to provide assurance.
  • Training – Employees will complete privacy & security training to reinforce responsible data handling.
  • Data minimisation – We will only collect/use the minimum data required for a validated purpose. Data will be periodically purged.
  • Contracts – Our vendors and partners will be bound by contractual clauses for proper data use.

This defence-in-depth approach is designed to safeguard data while enabling responsible AI development. However, we know data protection requires constant vigilance. Please share any other measures you think would strengthen our data governance as we adopt AI.

Performance Metrics:

  • How will AI impact our performance metrics and targets?

Integrating AI has the potential to significantly improve many of our key performance metrics and accelerate progress towards our strategic goals. Here are a few ways AI could impact targets:

  • Customer satisfaction scores could improve through more personalised and seamless service interactions powered by AI. This aligns with our goal of 90% customer retention.
  • Revenue growth may accelerate through AI-enabled product recommendations, dynamic pricing, and other sales optimisations. We hope to see AI help push revenue 20% higher year-over-year.
  • Cost savings from automated processes could add 2-3% to our profit margins, supporting profitability targets.
  • AI-augmented data analytics may provide deeper market insights that support launching 5 new growth initiatives versus our goal of 3.
  • Employee productivity benchmarks for tasks like processing claims and answering support tickets could improve 30-40% through AI automation.

While the projections are promising, we know that integrating any new technology requires adaptability. As we implement AI, we will closely track performance to targets and calibrate systems to maximise business value. Please share your thoughts on how AI could help us surpass our goals. I look forward to discussing metrics with you as plans take shape

  • How will success be measured and evaluated with the integration of AI?

Defining the right success metrics will be crucial as we integrate AI technology across the company. We want to take a comprehensive approach to measurement and evaluation from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective.

On the quantitative side, we will closely track performance on key business metrics like revenue, costs, profitability, efficiency, and customer retention to understand AI’s tangible impact. Our data science team will also monitor technical criteria such as model accuracy, latency, and bias to continuously improve AI systems. Conducting cost-benefit analyses for AI investments will be important as well to quantify the return on investment and optimise our resources.

However, we can’t overlook the human aspects of AI augmentation. Getting feedback through surveys and direct outreach will be just as critical. We need to evaluate how AI is affecting employee productivity, satisfaction, and comfort with automation. Additionally, we must gather customer perspectives on how AI alters their experience. Combining these qualitative insights with the hard data will give us a 360-degree view of AI’s success and opportunities for improvement. Most importantly, we will stay flexible, open-minded, and willing to adapt our approach based on the feedback and lessons learned through our AI journey.

Company Vision:

  • How does AI align with the long-term vision and goals of the company?

Our leadership team firmly believes AI will be a critical tool for achieving our long-term vision to [company vision statement]. AI has the potential to enhance our customer experiences by providing more personalised, predictive, and efficient service through various applications.

This aligns with our goal to be the most customer-centric company in our industry. AI can also help identify new growth opportunities by revealing insights in data that humans may miss – supporting our objective to launch [X new initiatives] over the next 5 years.

By automating repetitive tasks, we can use AI to boost employee productivity and satisfaction since our people are our most valuable asset. Freeing them up for more strategic work is a priority. In addition, AI will enable faster and more informed decision-making across the company through data-based recommendations, allowing us to quickly adapt to market changes crucial for continued success. Lastly, integrating leading-edge AI technology continues our focus on remaining at the forefront of innovation, which is core to our leadership position.

We are committed to integrating AI in an ethical, responsible way that improves life for employees, customers, and shareholders without replacing human judgment and oversight. Our vision is to use AI to augment our capabilities and empower our people to take the company to the next level. Please share any additional thoughts!

  • How will AI keep us competitive in the market?

In the ever-evolving business landscape, staying competitive is not just about keeping up, but about forging ahead. AI is a tool that can help us do just that. It’s like a compass in the wilderness of data, guiding us to insights we might otherwise miss. These insights can help us understand our customers better, streamline our operations, and make more informed decisions. It’s not about replacing human intuition and creativity, but enhancing it.

However, it’s important to remember that AI is not a magic wand. It requires careful implementation and management to ensure it aligns with our values and goals. There may be challenges along the way – learning curves to overcome, processes to adapt – but these are stepping stones on the path to progress.

In embracing AI, we’re not just adopting a new technology; we’re fostering a culture of innovation and continuous learning. We’re showing our commitment to staying relevant in an increasingly digital world. And most importantly, we’re investing in our future – a future where we continue to lead and excel in our industry.

Innovation and Creativity:

  • Will there be space for human creativity and innovation with the increased reliance on AI?

This is an important concern. As we integrate AI, my goal is to augment – not replace – the tremendous creativity and innovation our team brings. Here are some ways we will sustain human ingenuity:

  • Focus AI on automating repetitive tasks vs. creative work: The intent is to free up more time for you to focus on higher-value analysis, ideation, and strategy.
  • Structure creative workflows around human-AI collaboration: AI will enhance data-driven aspects while we ensure the process has room for human imagination and original thinking.
  • Provide training on leveraging AI as a creativity tool: We’ll share best practices for using AI to generate new ideas and complement (not constrain) your creative process.
  • Maintain roles that prioritise human judgment: Positions that require subjective decision-making will remain human-centric. AI’s role is to provide input, not final recommendations.
  • Gather constant feedback on AI’s impact: We will regularly assess AI’s effects on innovation, course-correcting if needed. Please share candid input.
  • Value diversity: We know AI cannot replicate the diversity of thought and perspective our team brings. That will remain one of our core strengths.

Please continue pushing boundaries and bringing fresh ideas. AI will handle routine tasks – freeing you up to focus on the type of creative, strategic thinking machines can’t match. Share any other thoughts on maintaining our culture of innovation.

  • How can team members contribute ideas for leveraging AI?

We encourage all team members to start thinking about ways AI could be applied to enhance our products, improve processes, or unlock new business opportunities. While the technology is still evolving, fresh perspectives from across the organisation will help us gain a competitive edge.

To contribute your ideas, you can speak directly with your manager or reach out to our AI task force at [email address] or [other channels]. We are interested in ideas big and small, even if they may not be feasible today.

The AI task force will work closely with team members to further develop promising ideas through workshops, hackathons, or small scale experiments. They can also match team members with mentors across the company to turn concepts into actionable pilots and use cases.

Beyond direct ideas, we need team members to develop foundational skills in areas like data fluency, analytics, and working with AI systems through online courses and in-person training. A workforce conversant in AI principles and applications will lead to more widespread innovation.

As we build expertise and pilot new uses, we hope to see more grassroots AI projects bubbling up across our teams. Please reach out through the available channels to get your creativity flowing. With your insights, we can develop an AI strategy that uniquely fits our business and culture.

Resource Allocation:

  • What is the financial implication of integrating AI, and how will resources be allocated?

Integrating AI technologies will require upfront investments, including costs related to software, data infrastructure, and technical talent. We also anticipate ongoing costs for maintenance, support, and continuously training AI models.

In the pilot phase over the next 6-12 months, we have budgeted approximately $X for stand-alone AI capabilities to test and validate use cases. Beyond the pilots, we will take a portfolio approach to AI investments, prioritising initiatives that can drive clear cost savings or top-line growth.

As we build the business case for scaled AI adoption, we will remain disciplined in our resource allocation methodology. Each use case will be evaluated based on total cost of ownership, projected ROI, and impact on key business metrics.

Funding will come from a combination of technology budget allocations, operational budgets of departments utilising AI, and new budget requests for promising AI initiatives. We are committed to maintaining organisational flexibility to ramp up or down AI investment as the technology and our internal readiness evolve.

Cross-functional collaboration will be key to ensuring our AI funding and resource allocation optimise both centralised and decentralised needs across the business. This strategic approach will allow us to integrate AI in a cost-effective, value-driving manner over both the short and long-term.

  • Will there be a dedicated team or department for AI implementation and oversight?

The introduction of AI into our business operations is a significant step forward. It’s a journey that we’re embarking on together, and it’s important to have the right people guiding us along the way. To ensure this transition is smooth and effective, we will indeed establish a dedicated team for AI implementation and oversight. This team will be our compass, leading us through the complexities of AI integration while ensuring we stay true to our core values.

This team won’t just be about technical expertise. They’ll also serve as educators and facilitators, helping everyone in our organization understand how AI can enhance their work without replacing them. Their role will be to bridge the gap between technology and people, making sure that everyone feels comfortable with these changes.

Remember, change isn’t something to fear but an opportunity for growth. With this dedicated team at the helm, we can navigate this new landscape with confidence and optimism. We’re not just adopting new technology; we’re embracing a future where our work becomes more efficient, creative, and impactful than ever before.


  • What is the timeline for AI integration?

We are still in the early stages of exploring how to best leverage AI technology to support our business objectives. While there is tremendous long-term potential, we want to take a thoughtful approach and not rush into AI adoption without a clear strategy.

Over the next 6-12 months, we plan to run pilot projects in select areas to test different AI applications and use cases. This will allow us to evaluate the technology, build internal expertise, and gain insights into how AI can augment our existing processes and employees’ capabilities.

Beyond the initial pilots, we will look to scale AI where it can have high impact and ROI based on the lessons learned. However, full integration across the organization will be a multi-year journey. Adoption will need to be phased in gradually as the technology matures and as we address important factors like ethics, data governance, and changing skills and roles.

Communication, change management, and developing the right organizational structures will also be critical to ensure our workforce is prepared for an AI-enabled future. While the timeline is still flexible, we are committed to being thoughtful at each stage of exploration, piloting, and adoption.

  • How will the transition to an AI-augmented workplace be managed to ensure smooth operations?

Transitioning to AI augmentation will require careful change management to ensure minimal disruption. Here is an overview of our plans:

  • Phased integrations: We will take an iterative approach to AI implementation, starting with limited pilots and gradually expanding capabilities over time. This gives us time to evaluate impacts, address challenges, and course-correct as needed.
  • Cross-functional coordination: We will assemble a transition team with members across departments to manage the rollout. This helps spot potential issues early and maintain alignment.
  • Training: All staff will receive role-specific training on new AI tools and processes. We want to equip everyone with the skills needed to work effectively in an AI-augmented environment.
  • Workflow analysis: The transition team will conduct in-depth workflow reviews to identify needed process changes beforehand. This will allow us to smooth out issues proactively.
  • Technical support: Our IT team will be available to quickly troubleshoot any technical problems that arise with new AI systems.
  • Feedback channels: We will gather regular feedback during the transition to spot gaps/concerns. Input from all of you will be critical to an effective rollout.
  • Leadership involvement: I and the rest of the executive team will closely oversee the transition and make this a top priority. Please reach out to us directly with any roadblocks.

With careful planning and strong two-way communication, I’m confident we can integrate AI in a way that empowers employees and enhances operations. Please share suggestions on how we can make this transition as smooth as possible.

Addressing Feedback and Concerns:

  • How can team members provide feedback or voice concerns regarding AI integration?

I want to encourage open communication around our AI strategy and integration plans. As we evaluate and implement new AI technologies, it’s important that everyone has a chance to ask questions, raise potential issues, and provide ideas.

There are a few ways team members can share feedback:

  • Bring up concerns or suggestions directly in our team meetings. I want to leave time in every staff meeting for discussion of our AI plans.
  • Email me directly to discuss pros/ons, risks, or recommendations related to an AI project. I’m happy to meet 1:1 as needed.
  • Submit anonymous feedback via [feedback channel if applicable]. This allows you to voice opinions you may not feel comfortable sharing publicly.
  • Reach out to [designated project lead] who is helping manage the implementation process. They can relay questions or issues to me and the executive team.

I encourage you to engage early and often as we move forward with AI integration. By having open conversations, we can build trust in these new technologies across our team. Please don’t hesitate to speak up. I value everyone’s perspective.

  • What channels will be available for ongoing discussion and feedback as AI is integrated?

Great question. Once we begin actively integrating AI technologies, it will be important to maintain open communication channels for continued feedback and dialogue. Here are a few channels we will have in place:

  • Regular agenda item at staff meetings: We will dedicate time in each staff meeting for updates on our AI integrations and an open Q&A. This gives everyone on the team a chance to ask questions and get their concerns addressed.
  • Ongoing Slack channel: We will create a dedicated Slack channel for AI discussion. This will allow you to share thoughts, articles, and feedback casually on an ongoing basis. It will also serve as a place to track questions that come up between meetings.
  • Monthly “AI Community of Practice” meetings: These voluntary sessions will provide an opportunity for more in-depth learning and discussion about our AI strategy. We will bring in internal speakers and occasionally outside experts.
  • Anonymous feedback forms: I will distribute anonymous pulse surveys periodically to gather unfiltered feedback. Please use these to voice concerns you aren’t comfortable raising publicly.
  • 1:1 discussions: My door remains open. Please don’t hesitate to schedule time with me directly if you want to privately discuss the AI program.
  • [Any other approaches specific to your team culture/norms].

Please take advantage of these channels as AI comes online. I want to foster a culture of transparency, engagement, and trust. Your ongoing feedback will be critical. Let me know if you have any other suggestions!

Rich Johnson
Rich Johnson

Partner, GiantKelp.

Rich heads up commercial engagements and consulting practice.