What’s your AI strategy?
I know there are plenty of possible strategies for your business, and you might be thinking I am suggesting adding a new one. But for now, I am not (necessarily) suggesting an “AI strategy” to compete with your marketing strategy, supply chain strategy or go-to-market strategy. Instead, I am asking if you have an AI “little s” strategy—a plan to help you stay aware of and capitalize on it as it evolves.
A couple of months ago, when talking about AI with our team, I shared a slide about my evolution in thinking about AI. It looked something like this:
- December: This is interesting.
- January: Is this like NFT and Clubhouse? (i.e., an initial splash but ultimately narrow in application. Not living up to all the hype).
- February: We need to try this stuff.
- March: I need to learn (much more) about all this.
- April: How will this transform our business?
So, my creation of an AI strategy started to form in February. That was when I shifted to recognition and awareness that this would be more than simply interesting. I didn’t know what this AI stuff might mean to us then, nor do I completely know now. But I know it needs to be on our radar and part of our thinking and learning habits.
Where are you on this journey? If you are where I was in December or January, I urge you to move forward.
How to get started
Here are five things you can do to create a strategy and move the conversation in your organization.
1. Start a conversation with your team. Learn what they know and are thinking, and what tools they are using. You will likely find champions—the early adopters who start to get everyone thinking about this in the business context.
2. Encourage people to try AI. Even if you don’t know what to use in the business context, encourage people to start playing around with the tools, including non-work on work time.
3. Try it yourself. Start playing around. Don’t attempt to make it all about business to start, but keep your business hat on, too. Don’t know where to start? After your team conversation, you probably will. If not, search YouTube, and you can jump in wherever you want/feel led to.
4. Start the business conversations. Encourage people to share their ideas and what they learned. Start looking for ideas you can replicate or encourage others to try. You may find ideas for process or productivity improvements or new offerings or enhancements. Don’t start looking for something specific; test drive to start.
5. Implement small. As you try these other four tips, you will find things to implement, so do it. Don’t wait for or expect the earth-shattering to start; find wins for everyone.
You will need to create a “big S” strategy around AI for some businesses in some industries. As you start to think organizationally, I urge you to avoid policy and think pilot instead. Things in this area are changing fast. “Policies” may become outdated or have drastic unintended consequences almost immediately.
Perhaps your organization isn’t spending much time on this yet. Maybe you are a mid-level or frontline leader without much top-level organizational influence. There is still a case for adopting a “little s” strategy for yourself and your team. Using the tips above, I encourage you to start on that journey today.