The development of artificial intelligences is greatly increasing cybersecurity threats. Their use by hackers could enable deploying a combination of ultra-personalized attacks leveraging the company’s specific information. For instance, imagine a phishing call using an AI-generated voice that can near-perfectly mimic your boss’ tone and conversational style—a science-fiction scenario that is about to become a reality…
What if you used the power of AI to protect yourself from this risk? Some companies are already working on designing software tools, such as ZeroGPT, to identify AI-generated content. AI can also be used to improve cyber-risk detection capabilities. For instance, a customized AI will be able to easily detect suspicious changes in an employee’s online behavior—a sudden increase in the amount of data consulted, a significant change in messaging structure, etc.—and, if need be, trigger an alert. Of course, these new tools won’t go without raising ethical questions regarding the protection of personal data—but they will quickly become unavoidable. A new field to keep a close eye on.
Source: From ChatGPT to HackGPT: Meeting the Cybersecurity Threat of Generative AI, Karen Renaud, Merrill Warkentin, George Westerman, MIT Sloan Management Review, April 2023.
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More and more companies allow employees to spend a day experiencing the reality of another position. These immersive experiences encourage taking a step back and stimulate empathy. Indeed, they allow employees to look behind the scenes of other departments, to better understand the challenges faced by their colleagues and the efforts they deploy to produce the results expected of them. This exercise is interesting at every level of the hierarchy—as much for the newly-arrived employee discovering the diversity of roles within the company as for the executive wanting to confront reality in the field.
Although the idea is not a new one, it can be interesting to systematize it. Banque Populaire Auvergne Rhône Alpes, for example, experimented with the “TestUnMétier” (“TestAJob”) set-up. This enables people who have been flagged for internal mobility or progress to be put in contact with employees who currently occupy the targeted position. This kind of initiative is also useful in allowing “expert” profiles to try out a range of possible career evolutions beyond the assumption of managerial responsibilities. It can even be used to incite your employees to train for new, emerging positions within the sector and facilitate coming changes.
A new loyalty lever to be explored?
Source: Vis ma vie : l'expérience de cohésion d'équipe rêvée ? [Live My Life: A Dream Team-Bonding Experience?], Welcome to the Jungle, June 2023.
According to a study conducted by John Horn, the author of the book Inside the Competitor’s Mindset, between 30% and 40% of executives believe that their competitors act irrationally over half of the time. Often, this perceived irrationality actually masks an inability to put oneself in the competitor’s shoes. Yet this is an essential skill to increase your capacity to anticipate the competition’s moves instead of being subjected to them.
To achieve it, two avenues deserve to be explored. The first consists in actively engaging in what is known as “cognitive empathy”. Concretely, this means suspending your judgment and putting yourself in your competitor’s position, trying to understand why they think what they think and decide what they decide, factoring in the information they possess and their positioning within the market. The key is to start from the principle that what they do is perfectly rational from their point of view and then piece together the logic of their actions.
A second, complementary approach consists in using artificial intelligence tools to create predictive analyses. By looking at the data, can we discern how a given competitor responded to price increases in the past? Is there a recurring pattern that could provide us information about their potential response to our next offering to hit the market? An excellent way to stimulate a dynamic view of the competitive game and stay a step ahead.
Source: Author Talks: How cognitive empathy can help you predict the competition’s next steps, interview of John Horn by David Schwartz, McKinsey, June 2023.
What about setting challenges to your teams to reinforce their cohesion? Research in neuroscience shows that the impact is real. A team at the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies has been working for years on this key question: what brings people to trust each other? It started by showing that trust is linked to the production of oxytocin: this hormone encourages individuals to interact and to rely on each other. It then focused on the managerial behaviors that foster the production of oxytocin. Unsurprisingly, it pointed out the fact of acknowledging the quality of the staff and leaving them margins of maneuver, but also the fact of regularly proposing “micro challenges” to the teams. How does it work? When we assign a team a difficult yet reachable objective, the moderate stress of the task releases neurochemical substances—notably the famous oxytocin—, but also adrenocorticotropin. These intensify concentration, reinforce social bonds and help people better coordinate their actions. Beware however: this approach only works if the objectives seem realistic and have a concrete aim. An excellent lever to create a culture that combines collective effectiveness and trust.
Source: The Neuroscience of Trust, Paul J. Zak, Harvard Business Review, January-February 2017.
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During the 2003 World Athletics Championships’ final, the French women’s team won the 4x100m relay race. Yet, facing them, the American team gathered the fastest runners in the world. How to explain this apparently paradoxical result?
This French team performance stems from a better cooperation: each athlete was ready to set aside part of her energy geared at her individual performance to guarantee a better efficiency during the baton exchange, for example by shouting to indicate her precise position to her partner and to communicate her energy to her. To encourage such a state of mind in companies, we must be ready to review some organizational “best practices” that hamper cooperation. For example, it seems rational to precisely document the roles, to clarify the scopes of action and to measure the performance according to these well-defined scopes. Yet, in such a situation, what is the interest for the individuals to collaborate with their teammates or other departments? What do they gain by getting out of their scopes to help colleagues?
What is gained in clarity and rationalization is often quickly lost in smoothness. To remedy this, ask yourself the question: do all the job descriptions, all the processes and all the key performance indicators put in place encourage individuals to collaborate, or do they create obstacles and conflicts of interest?
Source: How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done, Yves Morieux, TED@BCG London, September 2015.
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