How AI Will Get You More Time Each Week

Author

Christine Comaford

April 15, 2018

Would you like more time each day?

How will you get it?

AI.

The workplace is evolving at a breakneck pace. And as work becomes more technical and automated, analytics become even more essential. We all want the best workers, we all want to help our people grow and evolve, which is why leaders who leverage insights via analytics have peak performance, high engagement and innovation and optimal retention of their employees.

What We Need More Of

According to Microsoft’s extensive research, that I learned about at the 2018 New York Times New Work Summit, there are 3 Levers for Cultural Change that AI enables leaders to optimize.

  1. Creating capacity. We all want more time, more open space, more capacity to do our High-Value Activities. But creating more capacity requires us to remove Low-Value Activities from our world. That’s easy with the things we know are time-suckers. But what about the things we don’t know? How do we find and remove time-suckers that aren’t so obvious? The last thing a busy person wants is more work—even when that means a temporary investment of time will save them hours in the long run. Yet when we create capacity we create room for innovation, creativity and new ways of working. So it’s worth it to pay the temporary price: to find out what’s inefficient, a time-sucker, low ROI and then to remove it. I’ll show you how to do this with AI in a few minutes—and it’ll run as a background process and not take time from you.
  2. Growing mastery. Cultivating and elevating people is one of the most important things we do as leaders. This is how we make our people and organization great—and keep growing.  To grow mastery we need to know when people are doing great things so we can help them do more of them. We need to have indicators of excellence, innovation, performance, what Microsoft calls ‘bright spots’. We can do this with AI too, and when we find a bright spot we can unpack it to understand how to perpetuate it, increase it, spread it. Yep, you’ll use AI for this too. Coming up…
  3. Orchestrating networks. None of us works in a vacuum. We need each other. We rely on each other. So it’s essential that we have the ability to identify and optimize collaboration patterns and connections to make big decisions better. You’ve read my work on cognitive biases, the filters through which we made decisions, which often can be irrational. What if we could have better insight into how decisions are made? If we could connect people outside of formal structures and hierarchies to form communication hubs and virtual teams? Or even sprint teams for short-term high-velocity projects? This would allow your organization to tap into the power of these informal and previously undocumented networks to drive innovation, growth, change.

How Analytics Will Help You Get It

Day In The Life

I’ll admit I was a little skeptical when Microsoft showed me their MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics software. Then I “got” it. I got that with a chunk of software running behind the scenes the awareness of how I worked and how I could work better was raised, and I didn’t have to do anything special. Just let the software run and look at the results, then change my behavior.

  • MyAnalytics works with Office 365. It looks at how you’re working and who you’re working with and gives you behavioral “nudges” to help you be more effective at work.
    • Nudges are based on behavioral science and help you connect with the right people, find focus time and create better work habits. Example nudges:
      • You’ve been emailing back and forth quite a bit, should you take this to chat, a phone call or in-person conversation?
      • Your manager sent you this ask last week, have you followed up?
      • You haven’t connected with Suzie in two weeks, would you like to set up a meeting?
      • This email took 6 minutes to read, most people skimmed it for about 1 min. Consider sending shorter emails.
      • You have 3 hours open on Friday. Would you like to block focus time on your calendar for XXX project?

Meeting Behavior Within The Organization

  • Workplace Analytics allows you to apply these types of analytical insights at a more macro, aggregated level. Imagine how powerful it would be if leaders could pinpoint the behaviors of highly productive and engaged teams?
    • Like MyAnalytics, Workplace Analytics leverages Office 365 email and calendar metadata, it can also layer in an organization’s data, including To/From data, subject lines, and timestamps, to show how people collaborate and spend their time at work.
    • It turns this digital exhaust–the data that comes naturally from our everyday work–into a set of behavioral metrics. By mapping this metadata to basic organizational information (email patterns, meeting patterns), Workplace Analytics generates a robust view of a business’ collaborative patterns. This empowers leaders with information they’ve never had so they can make much better data-based decisions.
    • A useful application would be to solve problems like collaboration overload, manager effectiveness, sales productivity, space planning, etc.

Thanks to AI we can now: 1) identify opportunities for change and benchmark our present state. 2) drive change at the individual level, and (my fave!) 3) measure the impact. Very cool.

Christine Comaford is a Leadership & Culture Coach and the author of Power Your Tribe: Create Resilient Teams in Turbulent Times and SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together

This article was written by Christine Comaford from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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