Team management: Human and Machine

Team management: Human and Machine

Machines are getting smarter and faster. And you? Computers are replacing skilled professionals in areas such as architecture, geology, aviation, law and medicine. Deep Knowledge Ventures, a Hong Kong venture capital company, reached the point of naming to its board of directors a decision-making algorithm. What do you think about this? To what extent leaders and managers are needed to team management? This article was inspired by an article and two interviews made by the global research company McKinsey, and brings the opinion and the values of Runrun.it about the influence of artificial intelligence on human work:

 

1. “Computers are useless…”

“They can only give answers.” Pablo Picasso was not the only one to underestimate the artificial intelligence. Peter Drucker, known as the father of Modern Management died in 2005 and still didn’t trust the role of the machine. However, we understand what they emphasized: first of all, one must be able to ask the right questions. If you agree with this, have you been making the right questions to the right people? Or, to the right data? That’s how a good team management begins. Furthermore, machines can help companies in automating paperwork, improving productivity of qualified professionals (as McKinsey has published) and allowing them to be more creative. After all, machines can be intelligent, but they are not creative yet.

 

2. What matches humans and machines

Here we also need the right question to go on. So, before we seek for what sets us apart from machines, shouldn’t we understand what brings us closer to them? Well, right now many scientists around the world try to improve the so-called “machine learning”. It’s an area of artificial intelligence aimed at developing algorithms and techniques to make machines able to extract rules and patterns of large data sets. In short, machines able to learn by themselves, just like us.

 

3. How machines overcome us

Google announced that it has completed the exact geolocation of each address in France. How, without the technology, could the company accomplish this task? Google would have to send a team of 100 people to each neighborhood and district, fitted with a GPS, and the whole thing would take a year or more, right? In fact, using only the existing data on the web, Google took an hour. In the same way, we have to be grateful for machines automatize some activities were made by managers and their teams, e.g. to find, compile and send huge amounts of data through reports. Now, our time will be wisely invested in our ability to innovate, lead and think strategically.

 

4. What sets us apart

Here at Runrun.it, we believe that, from now on, the brightest managers will be those who make a difference in their organization by giving their human touch. With algorithms performing bureaucratic and repetitive – but mandatory – tasks, people will have time to improve their insights. Employees will improve their productivity and managers will do the same with the team management. Human management is different from the machine because it understands the differences, can see strengths and weaknesses in each individual, it can get along well with different opinions, reconcile, involve the organization in an ideal. It can help teams develop their own leadership and innovation ability.

 

5. What lies ahead

McKinsey notes that the great managers begin to make their team management more intelligent, by recognizing the talents who bring innovation to the business. A notable example of this approach is the use of crowdsourcing platforms in the decision-making process. That is, everyone can opine on what is decided. We admire how Google handles its HR. They have a unit called Human Performance Analytics Group, which gathers data on the performance of all employees, e.g. what they think about some areas of the organization. Then, an analysis of the data reveals what career path will be more successful for each one. And it’s not just in “über” innovation business that this system can be replicated: it’s sufficient where there’s an intelligent data system about the productivity of each person, and an HR team interested in professional development of employees.

 

6. How far can we go?

The philosopher Marshall McLuhan translates the point we have reached in this post: technology creates extensions of the human body. Bicycles are leg extensions, glasses are extensions of the eyes, knives are extensions of the nails. The hat, of the hair, the car and the clothes are extensions of our skin. The machine is the extent of our intelligence. Maybe there will be a machine that negotiates with the same rhetoric you do. Or a machine that can find out what’s happening in any complex social revolution. But, you see, that doesn’t make us crippled. The best professionals will always be motivated by interesting problems and, even more than by financial benefits, by the possibility of working with other brilliant people and growing.

 

7. Conclusion

The title of this article is not “Man vs. Machine “, but “Man and Machine”, because our relationship is interdependent. A machine can store immeasurable amounts of data, check for new ones and still produce reports with maximum speed and minimum failures. However, it can’t take decisions on them because they don’t have the notion of priority that we humans have. A machine hardly will motivate employees or build empathy with customers. This is your role, manager. But how to reward the talents and keep the trust of customers without monitoring team performance and the performance of the projects? The machine, the software, the artificial intelligence are like the left hand of a right-handed and the right of a left-handed: it’s there all the time and we are not aware of how it would be extremely hard to work without it.

 

Runrun.it is a team management software designed to increase the productivity of companies and make teams more engaged in their work. With it, you can know in real time what your team is working on and when the projects are supposed to be delivered. Got curious? Try it for free: http://runrun.it

 

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