• Randy Swaim

Leadership: Strategic Thinking & Neuroscience in an AI World; a Key Aspect Critical to Success.

For this blog, I seek to provide a central insight that is often missed in today’s world. However, it is critical to success in a challenging environment. It centers on one’s total Dependence on Automation. Let me introduce it by offering a couple of illustrations.

Leadership: Strategic Thinking & Neuroscience in an AI World; a Key Aspect Critical to Success.

Illustration 1: Most anyone can see that across our society, both professionally and personally, people tend to get vindictive anytime the outcome of something does not just fit their expectation. This can be aggravated in an AI world where people simply put their mental processing into a holding pattern and depend on this Artificial Intelligence. But I ask you, what if the Automation did not know all the factors involved?


The reader may perhaps realize that decades ago, it was big that there were computers that could learn to play the game of chess. With each game, the computer would learn some aspects and strategy. Usually in the first 5-10 games, the computer would lose but learned and after that, it won all the remaining games. Let me ask you, as society moves towards automation of aircraft, cars and other aspects of travel; as those computers learned in the first games, what if someone you love, or you, have to sacrifice their life so the computer could learn?


Example 2: I offer that with my experience in training and certifying pilots, it is often the case that pilots are instilled with the mindset of simply push the buttons and let the automation “do the job”. However, is the pilot clear on what they will do if the situation does not fit a purely academic scenario or the automation does not work correctly? This is a key aspect that is often missing in our professional and personal society.

When we train and develop people in any arena, what is unexpected? Are we developing their ability to handle the situation when all the academic and “automated” aspects are not applicable or working? Can your team handle it?


Mercury Example


A great historical example is the space flight of Gordon Cooper. The reader may know that decades ago during the Mercury Astronaut program (the fist stage of space flight where the Mercury Astronauts were the only ones to go into space alone. Early in the program there was a challenging time that was exemplified in the movie “The Right Stuff”. There came a time when the astronauts challenged the engineers with what if something goes wrong. In general, the tech people argued against it thinking with backups and such that could not happen. In the movie the astronauts simply challengedWhat if it did?


Astronaut Gordon Cooper was the last Mercury Astronaut to be launched into orbit and the last US Astronaut to go into orbit alone. However, on Gordon Cooper’s flight, most of the automation on his capsule failed and as such, Gordon Cooper was also the first that had to manually and on his own, fly his capsule back to earth and if the reader understood the narrow windows this required, you would be impressed.


The Key Aspect to not put aside:


When you are developing your team, or pilots, or if you are considering driving a driverless car, don’t just simply depend on automation. There are many things that could go wrong. Develop you and your team’s ability to PROCESS the details as they apply in the current situation and make the right decisions to get the best results at the point of attack. Do not just put your brain, or theirs, into a holding pattern. Get them thinking! About 20 years ago, there was an Airliner that overshot its turn point in Michigan by 150 miles. There was nothing wrong with the system but neither pilot was paying attention to the aircraft but were on I-Pads and such. They just shut their brains off and let the automation go even when it was not giving them what was needed.


What is my point:


NEVER EVER PUT YOUR BRAIN ON HOLD REGARDLESS OF THE LEVEL OF AUTOMATION APPLIED OR THE ACADEMIC PICTURE YOU EXPECT.


So I offer you this:


What do you need to do better to get your team’s Mental Processing Improving for Radical Results in an unpredictable environment?


What do you need to do to Lead differently to Improve Your Own Processing and also to Model this improved ability for your team?


What do you need to do differently to make this processing your team’s culture?


Randy Swaim, Coaching for Relevance, LLC

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