FUTUREPROOF.

The Future of Work Communication: Automation, AI, Remote Work, and VR

October 09, 2019 Season 1 Episode 45
FUTUREPROOF.
The Future of Work Communication: Automation, AI, Remote Work, and VR
Chapters
FUTUREPROOF.
The Future of Work Communication: Automation, AI, Remote Work, and VR
Oct 09, 2019 Season 1 Episode 45
Jeremy Goldman
Jeremy sits down with Jill Schiefelbein, author of Dynamic Communication: 27 Strategies to Grow, Lead, and Manage Your Business, to discuss the future of work communication.
Show Notes Transcript

Today I’m really excited since I get to introduce you to Jill Schiefelbein. She’s a university faculty-turned-entrepreneur --- an award-winning business owner, author, and recovering academic. She taught business communication at Arizona State University for 11 years, analyzed terrorist documents to provide counter-terrorism messaging strategies to the military, and was a pioneer in the digital education space. Jill's latest book, Dynamic Communication: 27 Strategies to Grow, Lead, and Manage Your Business, is in bookstores around the country. 

Jill has helped clients across the board learn dynamic communication skills: from Boomers, to Millennials, to Generation Z, from Fortune 500 to non-profits - so we wanted to make sure to connect with her to figure out where work communication is going.

Some of what we cover:

  • The fear of AI taking away jobs - how do you communicate about that potential arising concern?
  • As automation grows, how important will it be a communicator since an AI can’t replicate?
  • What are some generational communication differences in the workplace? 
  • Remote work & remote meetings: what do you lose when you can’t see the person you're meeting with? How might virtual reality change this?
  • What is inherent to human nature that will never change no matter how much our technology does?

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please make sure to subscribe, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play.




Speaker 1:
0:00
We had these early adopters who are great technologists, but now the rest of us need to catch up who were more humanist. If we really want to put a divide on it. Right. I'm not saying you can't be one in the same, but the most successful people out there are one in the same.
Speaker 2:
0:14
Hi, I'm Jeremy and Goldman and this is future proof.
Speaker 3:
0:23
Okay.
Speaker 4:
0:24
So today I'm really excited since I get to introduce you to Jill Schiphol bine. Uh, and I think I said it right. She is a university faculty, uh, professor, uh, turned entrepreneur. She's an award winning business owner, author. And you know, as I mentioned, a recovering academic, which is really difficult to do. So she taught business communication at Arizona state university for 11 years, did a lot of other things in the process, which we'll hear about. And she was a pioneer in the digital education space. Uh, but today I wanna talk to her about her work as a, the head of a company called the dynamic communicator, the provide custom communication strategies and training. I through workshops, a keynote speaking consulting, but I really wanted to talk to her today because her latest book, uh, dynamic communication, 27 strategies to grow, lead and manage your business is in bookstores around the country. And it's one of the more insightful reads that I've been able to, uh, get my hands on over the last year. So one to make sure we had her in the studio and we're going to really talk about the future of communication at work and why it's such an imperative thing for companies to be thinking about today is. So, uh, Jill, welcome to the show.
Speaker 1:
1:41
Thank you so much Jeremy. And for the record, you said my name perfectly.
Speaker 2:
1:44
I'm really excited about that, especially because, I mean people misspell my name and it's Goldman. So you can imagine how annoying it is to have to explain to people it's a G as in gold, O as a, as an old. Do you want me to continue? And yours is a little bit trickier. You know, it's one of those obstacles you can overcome very early in life that shaped who you are. I wonder if that's why I love communications so much because I had to communicate my last name 20,000 times as a kid. I love that. Um, yeah, I mean I think that I, I want wanted to talk to you about kind of the impetus for, cause I know you've really been focused on the type of work that you do right now for a while now and which is great because I think it makes you the subject matter expert. I want to talk about about the future of work communications and I think it's something that pretty much everybody who's listening now has to deal with on an ongoing basis. So what inspired you to really focus your work on this topic? I love
Speaker 1:
2:44
words. They're my currency. And from the first real big speech I gave in front of about 500 people when I was 16 and I opened my mouth and I said words and then people went and did stuff that I told them to do. It was right. I mean that's, that's real power. And of course I wanted to use it for good, not for ill. So I really became obsessed with studying how words can move people to action in some ways, which is what went, you know, when I went to go get educated in college and in graduate school, that's really what I wanted to study. And then after teaching for over a decade, really decided I wanted to take it out of the classroom and put it in real applied settings in the workplace. Because teaching students from the textbook is one thing, but teaching people who are actually in the workplace using these skills on a daily basis to apply them and change the trajectory of their messaging and really their careers is powerful.
Speaker 1:
3:38
Yeah, I mean, I think you're right because I, I've spoken to a lot of people that theoretically this is what you should do. But then what I love about actually being able to advise people in the workplaces, it's kind of like when things get real and you're not, you know, just talking theory, you're actually talking about actual application, then it makes you, I think a little bit sharper as a, as an advisor to people like that. You know, when I first started, one of the taglines I wanted to use for my business and a branding agency said, no you can't use this was I make the theoretical tangible and I, well one, it's a little bit of alliteration, which I like cause I'm a geek. And two, I thought it was really just accurate and he said that's a little nerdy and that's not really simplified and people won't remember that.
Speaker 1:
4:21
And so I just hung my head in the corner and cried. But that's it. You can hear so many different ideas and people, especially people who listen to podcasts, they're massively educated audience and you're taking all these new ideas in. But the magic from those comes when you try something and you put it in action or you practice it or you attempt to use it to manipulate and that's not a bad word, but you know, augment something that's going on in your present condition. Yeah, I mean I think that's true. And I think, um, another thing that's true is that I'm going to embarrass you with a few lightning round questions now. Uh, right before we get into the meat of everything. Sorry, vegetarians. Um, so what's the strangest thing about your childhood? Oh my gosh. The strangest thing about my childhood. I think a lot of people would find amusing, especially now living in New York city that I grew up in a tiny town in Kansas and I used to chase tornadoes with my dad.
Speaker 1:
5:11
My mom would yell, Paul, get her back inside right now. But my dad and I would want to be out looking at the storm and trying to get as close as possible. Granted, we were pretty, you know, safe there and pretty conservative and how close we got. But I'd say that will top the charts. So I think that definitely went so had a tornado chaser. That's how I was going to say. How close do you have to get in order to have that qualify as a chase? Well, and when you technically always fail at a tornado chase, you know what? Ooh, that is a good question. I guess that helps you get a feel. You lived through it, I guess. Right. But I mean, tornado chasing too, a little nine year old girl in Kansas is very different than to someone who has millions of dollars of equipment, is trying to get technical measurements. But all I know is it did not make my mom happy. That's true. I, I chased somebody
Speaker 2:
5:58
who stole my end game boy in 1989 for like three blocks, but I think tornadoes is a little bit cooler. Um, I wanted to ask you, okay, so you speak, uh, just about everywhere. I know you're on the road, uh, speaking the gospel. So what's your favorite city to speak in and try and visit? Oh my gosh, there's so many. How can you pick just one? I just insult every other city.
Speaker 1:
6:21
I know. I know. I mean, New York city is my favorite. That's why I ended up moving here and relocating my life and my business. I love being here. I love speaking in this city because you can walk out the door and be in a completely different world. Right, right.
Speaker 2:
6:32
Yeah. I, I, I'm biased. I've been here and I'm not gonna leave. So I think that's a pretty good one. Okay. So aside from your professional background that everybody knows about, what would you say your secret superpower would be? Crocheting. Crochet.
Speaker 1:
6:47
Yes. You know, like a 90 year old woman. Super power crocheting sitting in a rocking chair. Yeah.
Speaker 2:
6:53
Interesting. That's not something that I would expect, but um, did you crochet that?
Speaker 1:
6:58
No. No. What I'm wearing? No, but I've crocheted many things from blankets to sweaters to stuffed animals to, you know, two foot tall Scooby doo dolls to whatever it is. So when the zombie apocalypse comes, right, I have post-apocalyptic skills because I can make those nets to hold people back. We can carry food, we can carry supplies, we can make clothing, we can make slings for our broken limbs. It's going to be a useful skill.
Speaker 2:
7:22
I, you've really thought this through a really scary degree actually. So, um, how about, uh, this is something that I kind of know a little bit about it from your background. Do you happen to have any experience with terrorist documents?
Speaker 1:
7:35
Oh yes. That's a very loaded and cheating question. But yes, I absolutely do. It's a, you know, I provided that in the bio and it's all over my website and people don't often ask. So I love that you did. I actually got to help analyze about 200 pages of documentation that was obtained in a terrorist camp parade and analyzed it for communication strategy. So understanding how their messaging strategy works from a propaganda standpoint and also from an information flow standpoint. So being able to look at that and kind of reverse engineer the flow of information within a system to determine where would strategic points be to do any type of physical intervention. And then also mental intervention. When can we get to people before the propaganda is hit and at what?
Speaker 2:
8:16
Yeah, and I think that to me what's interesting about that is, you know, we had somebody on last a week, uh, who worked for Donald Rumsfeld and I'm like, I thought I was talking to a lot of marketing and communication geniuses. And inevitably there are these really strange, interesting connections when you start looking for them. I think
Speaker 1:
8:34
one of the things that's really interesting and why I love doing what I'm doing is once you've worked on a project like that and anyone who's taken, I mean, if you were an engineer, when does a kid, you probably took appliance as a part and tried to put them back together and figure how things worked. And I think that project, I did that back in, I think it was 2005 and 2006 was the first project that I really to apply a lot of the theory and put it into practice and be able to break down the system into its component parts human than otherwise, and really see how all of those things interact together. So I know, you know, what we're talking about today. How are those human and nonhuman components coming together is really a trend in every sector.
Speaker 2:
9:14
So, uh, speaking about having things come together. I mean, they wanted to shift that to more serious stuff, which is, uh, we were talking last weeks, uh, on our last week's episode about, uh, one trend, uh, with shopping, which is that I believe, I think it's something like 69% of, uh, uh, people have shopped at w [inaudible] 81% of millennials. I can go look up, I might have the numbers a little bit wrong, but I thought it was really interesting because one thing I kind of hypothesized is that maybe it's because people always have to be on and they're always communicating with the office even when they're not in the office, that they feel that it's okay to do things like that. And I wondered if you could kind of pivot and talk about, uh, what you're seeing in terms of workplace communication that's happening outside the bounds of the traditional workplace.
Speaker 1:
10:04
Yeah. I think most people today would agree that in many jobs, of course, not all, but many, many jobs, your work never ends if you don't set boundaries. And sometimes companies expect you to not set boundaries. And other times they do depending on who your manager is, what your role is, what your job is, et cetera. And as we have more and more tools that enable to enable us to communicate very quickly and frequently, and we have devices that are mobile and we take everywhere with us, the expectation on the employee to be responsive has shifted. And so when you look at that, there is this blur of this whole cliche work life balance. It's a complete myth from my perspective. People who say, Oh, let's work on creating work life balance. No work and life are one in the same. We work and we live and we're now able to do things that people would consider quote unquote home tasks versus quote unquote work tasks interchangeably.
Speaker 1:
11:05
We're able to move from one mode to another very quickly. And so the shopping statistic that you said doesn't surprise me at all, that the vast majority of people have done it. Because if something's on your mind and you need to get it taken care of, what used to happen is you would have to leave work early to hit the store before it closed. Now maybe you're spending 10 15 minutes to get this done right at your desk. From a productivity standpoint, I think a lot of workplaces are shifting to the mentality of these are your tasks, here are the times you have to be here in person for certain collaborative efforts or certain onsite efforts depending on your role and job. And as long as you're getting stuff done, doesn't matter when you work, as long as you're meeting every deadline and doing the things we need you to do.
Speaker 2:
11:46
I mean, I've definitely noticed a lot of, uh, you know, a trend towards that. And I mean, to me it's really interesting, try to kind of imagine what the workplace of tomorrow is going to look like. You know, because it seems that more and more, uh, kind of echoing what you're saying, there's a certain breakdown where companies that can't, uh, have a really valid reason to have you in from like nine to six every single day. They, they can't, you know, they can't defend that necessarily anymore if every single competitor of theirs starts to offer more flexibility. And obviously we're talking about certain types of jobs, uh, but if everybody else offers some flexibility, you kind of have to, uh, also you can't be like them Risa Meyer kind of situation where you don't have that flexibility and everybody else does. And it feels like you're being a little bit too conservative and holding onto the past. But I mean, tell me if you disagree.
Speaker 1:
12:43
No, not at all. And it's one of those things that it used to be a bigger differentiator that it is flexible hours used to be a major differentiator and an employer brand. Right. And when the hiring teams were going out and trying to find people, Oh, well we have flexibility. You have one remote day a week at home. You have all of these different options. That was very innovative 10 years ago. Now it's becoming more run of the mill that we expect. These things. We expect to have these flexible options and if you think about it from a generational standpoint, think of how gen X, for example, when you had something important you needed to do or let's even say something social you needed to do when you knew you were going to have a phone call coming in, you expected to be at home to be waiting in this one hour period where a phone on a wall was going to ring and you would answer it and you would have a conversation.
Speaker 1:
13:35
We actually structured our productivity around specific times and specific spaces because you had to. That was the way you connected with people if you weren't in the same physical proximity. Now we move into the next generation after that, right? Gen Y millennials, and you started to see this shift where we start to become more mobile. Definitely. I am 37 so technically I am like the cusper millennial here and those at the tail end of it had a much different digital experience growing up than I did and so you start to see these shifts of the expectation of needing to be at a certain place at a certain time to do a task augment with these younger generations. So now you have gen Z coming into the workplace, the very early 20 year olds and they're coming in, they're never having known what it's like to sit around and wait for a phone call. The closest thing they know is, well, maybe I shouldn't be driving when I take this phone call. And that's a big stretch of a maybe because you're used to your whole entire life having mobile access and freedom to move to do almost any task that needs to be completed. So you have a fundamental different mentality shift of people coming to the workplace too, which does change employer expectations. Perfect
Speaker 2:
14:47
example is when, now I have a lot of business calls with people and you, I'll be waiting on the line and it'll take them five minutes to join and then I'll be thinking, okay fine, so I'll just wait for them to join. No big deal. I've gotten, you know, emails to, uh, I've got plenty of things to do. It doesn't really matter if they're late, but now that I realized like, wait a minute, well X number of years ago, if there somebody wasn't where they were supposed to be at the right time, I feel like you were screwed. I think that you, you know, you had a few minutes of lost productivity, but now when I'm waiting in a corner for somebody, I'm like, I'll just go through my email. I'll check Slack, I'll do something, I'll, I'll be productive else, you know, some other way.
Speaker 1:
15:31
And we have that ability now when a lot of time you did it before because the tasks that you would have to do without these mobile devices, without cloud computing, without AI, without a lot of the things that we rely on and even take for granted now today, you can do short bursts of productivity now, where before that really wasn't available to you in many of your tasks. And you know the other thing when you're talking about meetings, I think since we're talking about future-proof, it's important to talk about the virtual space.
Speaker 2:
16:00
Oh yeah, no, definitely. I mean, I think that for me, one of the things that I'm thinking about actually, quick, quick pause, we're going to be okay on background. Right? Okay, cool. Yeah, I was like, yeah, I mean, I figured we are, but like, you know, yeah. I, it's like I figured, but this is the first time that we're doing one with, yeah, this early. Right. I don't know who can get off work this early anyway. Yeah. Uh, okay. So where are we going to be back?
Speaker 1:
16:34
The last comment on virtual meetings. I know we wanted to go there. I figured that was [inaudible].
Speaker 2:
16:37
Yeah, no definitely. So I'm glad that you brought up virtual meetings because to me I think a lot about remote work and remote meetings and what kind of impact that has. Right? I mean, I mean what do you lose when you can't see the person? Cause I, I'll tell you there's such like an immediacy that I have when I'm seeing somebody, you know, when I'm recording in a room like this and I'm looking at you and I can see how engaged you are or not. Spoiler Jill is very engaged, she's being really good. But like what do you, what do you say to the fact that more and more meetings or hat are happening remotely where people don't necessarily see one another or if they do, it's through a Skype screen and you know, obviously more people are working with people in offices and different time zones. So that's necessitating doing Skype meetings. But what impact does that have on the workplace in general?
Speaker 1:
17:32
What's fascinating about it is we were so used to meeting in person that we would have no problem going into a meeting room yet now with geographically dispersed workforces, when I ask clients for example of my own, Hey, would you like to have a phone call or would you like to do a video conference? And I'm saying do a video conference because I feel that I am much better on video than I am on audio. So they don't do it like, Oh man, that's really such a bummer because there is an immediacy factor with being able to physically see someone and there are indicators of engagement that you can get. I mean thank you for complimenting me on my engagement during this interview, but the reality is I'm still disappointed that you didn't crush a your top. Yeah, well you know if you go on my Instagram you can see examples including the cutest baby blanket I just made from my brand new niece.
Speaker 1:
18:22
Anyway, squirrel moment. And back to the topic of conversation, the virtual meetings, you have this immediacy factor and so if I want to put on my nerd professor hat for just a sec, for anyone who likes to geek out with me, Marshall McLuhan, who is one of these big theoretical names in the marketing space in the messaging space talked about the idea of media richness theory, which means the more complex the task, the more rich the communication channel needs to be. And by Richard means the immediacy and the cues available to someone. So for example, face to face, not only can I see what's happening in real time, I can hear what's happening in real time, but I believe people bring some type of energy also into the room with them and you can sense that. You can really see the posture, you can see the full picture.
Speaker 1:
19:05
One step down is that virtual conference. It's when people are on video. You can still see most of that. You don't have that same physical environment that you're sharing. The reality is you can tell when they're disengaged or checked out on that call though just like you can in a face to face meeting room. So workplaces in my opinion who are not utilizing that to establish rapport, especially at the beginning when new people are introduced for me, every new client call I have, I strongly urge or push depending on the situation like I need this to be on video because I really want to establish a rapport with you that's going to influence our interactions moving forward. So if you can tell me when is a good time to sit down to have this virtual face to face conversation. We can do phone calls for everything else depending on what they like.
Speaker 1:
19:53
And this plays out in so many different ways. I did a interviewing for entrepreneur magazine, I do some freelance stuff for them and I had the opportunity to interview shark tank's rubber hurts back and actually not just once but twice did it on the phone the first time. It was a lovely interview. He is an amazing human with so many cool insights, was very cordial and happy and forth. You know forth giving with content. The next time we did it I said yes, I'd like to do it again. However, I know that video content for marketing and purposes et cetera is also huge and I would like to do this via zoom, which is a video conference. The platform I use and would like to have some of this face to face interaction. He told me it was a first interview that he'd done with a journalist for an article this way, something that wasn't going to be a televised interview or something and his face lit up.
Speaker 1:
20:47
It was so amazing. I felt like $1 million. I'm like, wow. He's like, this is really cool. This is really nice. I can actually see you and I, your questions make more sense, but what was it awkward that he was on the toilet? He was not, he was in a very nice professional, polished conference room, but that's the thing is is even when we are taking things for granted, like yes, we need to hop on a phone call for 30 minutes. Doing that as a video conference can bring a whole other dimension of communication, of rapport, of trust to that relationship that is really essential. We trust things that we can see more than we trust. Things that we can hear and if we can see and hear them at once, we are more inclined to be forthcoming. We're inclined to work a little harder because there is more pressure in that environment.
Speaker 2:
21:33
And so to me this is kind of like the crux of what I always talk about a future proof is like what are the things that make us inherently human that are not going to change regardless of the technology that gets introduced. Right. And then what's the technology that's being introduced that might impact the direction that things are going? And I think what you just said is so important because if you want to under understand where things are going to go in the future, you have to acknowledge the things that are intrinsically human that probably are not going to change for the next thousand years. Such as the, you know, being able to see people being able to, and the trust thing isn't honestly not something I had really thought about. But I think that, uh, you know, we're always, uh, our lizard brain probably makes us a little bit afraid of everything we think that we can die at any moment. And I listened to you and you sound like you're trustworthy, but then I look at you and then I say, now I know she's not gonna kill me.
Speaker 1:
22:28
Yeah, it's very comforting. So random, random fact when we are in person, one of the things that is an indicator of safety, it goes back to our amygdala, the lizard brain, you were talking about his hands. We actually feel more secure when we can see someone's hands. So for example, think of when you're walking down the street and if you see someone walking with their hands behind their back or their hands very deep in their pockets, your brain may have, and it may be a millisecond of a tick. And depending on the, where you're at, you know, you feel safe or not safe, your brain can subconsciously react to that different stimuli. Same thing when face to face, number one conveyor of honesty. And then I did States non-verbally is eye contact. And so all of these things together add up into those deeper relationships, into those trusting factors.
Speaker 2:
23:12
It's really funny, nobody can see this when I'm actually sitting on my hands right now cause I'm always paranoid about hitting the uh, Mike. Uh, so for the rest of the interview I'm just going to be playing with my hair. I'm going to be tussling it gently so that Jill will really trust me. And that won't be creepy at all. Uh, I mean it is interesting, right? Because, uh, the other thing that I kind of, what I'm excited about and I think will be really disruptive when you're talking about these, uh, remote meetings. You know, like there's still a certain sense of if you're in the same room with somebody rather than a video meeting that there is difference. Right. And to me when we get to the point where from VR, I mean that's something that I've been close to and studied a lot and spoken to a lot of people who've introduced really disruptive VR technologies.
Speaker 2:
23:58
Uh, when you use VR to create empathy in a sense of you're actually in the same place and your brain thinks that you are, even though you're not, that to me will, will be really disruptive because then at that point it'll be really difficult to justify, uh, going from let's say a Stockholm to Madrid for a meeting. Because why would you, when you can pretty much get 99% of the immediacy in a VR like experience. And I mean, I don't know how much of that is something that you've thought about, but to me I'm kind of thinking what impact will that then have right? Where people will not really feel like they have to be in front of one another in a true sentence in the way that you and I grew up. Right. Cause there's still right now a little bit more of a, if I want to conduct a really important deal, I'm not gonna do a $4 million deal over a video conference. I'm gonna go convey a certain sense of importance by going there. But I think that that's gonna change.
Speaker 1:
24:54
I think it already is shifting. I know a lot of companies who are doing multimillion dollar deals without ever meeting physically in person. It's also a cultural thing though here in the United States we are more comfortable with that then a lot of other countries. But when you really think about it, it comes down to that immediacy effect. But it comes down to that connection and that sense of belonging. I mean if we go back way, way, way too, our ancestral roots, how did we survive by joining together, having communities and you know, assigning different tasks based on abilities, that type of thing. So when we're looking at our need for community, it has not gone away. It may have shifted the way that it manifests in our workplace today, but the need for community is still there. And so when you're doing these virtual experiences, these virtual meetings, there's a couple of things to really think about.
Speaker 1:
25:38
I mean the whole example of VR and how companies are even coming close. A couple of months ago I was with bank of America that I'm working with on this project and I went into one of their virtual meeting rooms that literally has a full wall that starts to curve out. So like it's a little bit a concave and then the table I'm sitting at is a little bit convex, which almost makes us oval and there's cameras angled at it. So you feel like you are in a full conference room and that type of meeting. I had never seen a setup like that before executed that. Well, I've seen people who tried, but even that slight curve to make you feel like you were sitting at a round table was so fascinating to me simply because it's not just about the human connectivity audio video being incredibly important, but also the attention to detail being paid about the environment and how realistic we can make this environment feel that we're blurring that line between digital and physical.
Speaker 2:
26:31
Wow. That's a, yeah, I think that it's probably one of those things that we're gonna be old fashioned one day a for being the people who think about stuff like that and who we're thinking about is something digital. You know, in the, in a perfect example is there are now a lot of companies where they talk about experiential or cross channel marketing where they want to have an experience that lives across all channels. And I think increasingly that line is blurring. So much so that we're not gonna even talk about, it's kind of like, are you going to be hiring a digital marketer or are you going to be hiring a marketer? You know, and digital is just a discipline that they have in their repertoire.
Speaker 1:
27:07
I think we're seeing this shift a little bit right now in the workplace where before all of the digital influx with the social media and digital content creation and all of that, you had people who are really strong in marketing theory and they were really strong in understanding consumer behavior. Then these new platforms for communicating to potential buyers emerged into the marketplace and you had to have people who knew how to use them and the people who knew how to use them weren't always the same as people who had that human skill. The understanding of the psychology of human behavior, of buying, of messaging, of communication. Now we're starting to shift to where companies are realizing in order to be successful in this digital space. Just having someone that knows how to use the tools and technologies and make it look good isn't enough because now consumers are coming out the other end of that and they're expecting more and it's kind of the same life cycle with any new product, right?
Speaker 1:
27:58
The new iPhone comes out for the very first time, right? The original iPhone. Everyone's like, Ooh, our initial consumer behavior was driven to that. And then you start to learn to use it. And then the people who could adapt and learn it faster had different advantages and different uses. However, it wasn't completely useful until the rest of the people caught up with those early adopters to really make it kind of mainstream. And so you kind of see this early adopter lag behind pushup and you're going to see the same thing in terms of a lot of jobs I think in the future is that, okay, we had these early adopters who are great technologists, but now the rest of us need to catch up who were more humanist if we really want to put a divide on it. Right. And I'm not saying you can't be one in the same, but the most successful people out there are one in the same. And that's how those companies are getting ahead
Speaker 2:
28:44
faster. And yeah. So to me, actually that brings me up, actually, I don't know exactly how to phrase this, but I mean it's just kind of like thinking about AI, you know, in the workplace, right? Because you've got me thinking about technology and what's going to be disruptive and I think that AI and automation, I'm going to lump those together even though they're not the same thing, but there are a lot of people who are concerned about all of these things that are merging in the workplace and how it's there. Those are basically going to be disruptive, right? If you are a leader, how do you communicate, uh, an address the fears that the average rank and file has to being displaced? Uh, you know, besides, uh, getting them to donate to Andrew Yang's campaign or something,
Speaker 1:
29:27
number one, call out the elephant in the room. The elephant in the room is fear, fear of replacement, fear of adoption, fear of being lagging behind and skills, fear of whatever it is, calling out and addressing the elephant in the room pro actively is a number one thing as a leader you need to do. And of course there are strategies to do it that are more complex than the show will allow us to get into it because we'd be here for hours. But when you're looking at that, what happens when someone's afraid is your brain is fundamentally unable to function in a cognitive processing way. If you are operating in a fear mode, you're not able to use that prefrontal cortex. You're not able to engage the part of the brain that you need to process decisions correctly. Therefore, as a leader, if you're not addressing the base needs of your people right away and talking and explaining what's going to happen, how this is going to roll out, what the plan is and then allow them to ask you questions. You're going to have employees that are operating in this fear based mode and are really going to damage the productivity and potentially the profitability of the company.
Speaker 2:
30:26
Yeah, I think that that is, I mean it's true, but it's also one of those things that kind of makes me think about, um, you know, obviously you, your company is called the dynamic communicator. And to me, communication and the ability to communicate and to think creatively. You know, those are two things that I think are very difficult for a computer to replicate. Uh, and obviously computers can do a lot of things these days, but those are two things that kind of make me feel that if you really want to future proof your career, you've gotta be thinking about getting good at the things that the robot overlords are not going to be that good at for a while. You know? So, I mean, are there, do you think that the rise of AI makes being a strong communicator more important? I mean, that's my thesis and obviously it's something you might want to agree with, but feel free to disagree if you do.
Speaker 1:
31:17
I wish I could because I would love to be contrarian right now and get in this point of debate. But no, I firmly believe that, again, going back to our most human elements and need for community, the need for belonging, assuming we have food and water, right? Yes, I'm talking about Maslow that most people know about, but our sense of belonging, our need to join together, our need be communal communication is a massive part of that. We survive because of our ability to communicate and so when you go back to that and you think of the advances that are going on in the workplace, when it comes to AI, when it comes to automation and all of these things, the beauty of them is for people who are actively working on the skills, on working on the human element of what they do, of their jobs, of understanding how can we make things more adaptable to our current environment.
Speaker 1:
32:05
Those people are going to be able to be more creative because their time is going to be freed up from the assistance at AI, the automation and other things we'll give them, for example, we look at meetings and how they're run now and the best video conferencing systems. We'll have transcription services built into them, so immediately you start a meeting, it's going right to the cloud. You can connect that cloud to whatever host server website, whatever you need to do. You connect it there, boom. The transcription is also done simultaneously, which then records the task that everyone is responsible for. Now when AI gets a little and more affordable, it can do it in many circumstances now then AI will tag those tasks a certain people automatically put in a project management system and everything from those results in a meeting takes place in the snap of a finger. So you're not having people responsible for doing that followup. Right.
Speaker 2:
32:55
And so you just touched on, and I think not to get like too political, but this is something that I feel is that there are a lot of people who seem to kind of say there are all these things that automation's going to replace and what was the people whose jobs are going to be lost as a result because they're too stupid to do anything else and they're not talented enough to do anything else. No. I actually think that there are a lot of people who are talented and can do a lot of different things that they just never knew existed. And there are a lot of jobs that are going to be created that don't even exist right now that are going to be viable career paths. So because of that, you know, meeting scheduler might not be a job, but that's okay because I don't think that there is somebody who when they were five years old, you know, it looks up at their parents and say, says, you know, like mom, I know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a meeting scheduler. You know? So when there's new jobs that open up, uh, people are gonna joke flock to those new things rather than do some of the things that they might have done. You know, previously.
Speaker 1:
33:57
You know, I think one of the things when we're talking about the future in the workplace here and how he, to free to proof your organization, it's okay. So if you're going to be using more of this AI, more of this automation, if you know certain tasks that people do are going to be replaced with technology. How are you as a manager, as a leader, enabling these people to use their skills in other ways or how are you helping them to develop the skills? And I think some of the roles in HR are actually really on the block to be changed profoundly by these shifts in technology augmentation in the workplace. Because if you think about it, you have people in bigger companies in HR that are career transition advisors or career advisers, career coaches, that type of thing. Well what about career discoverers? If you honor the people that you have in your workplace, you know they're good people, you know they're trustworthy. If you know they're loyal, these things that are very hard to come by these days, how can we keep them around and getting them in other areas? And I think some of the skills that HR teams and leaders and managers who wants to cultivate these people are going to need, they're going to need more perception in balancing what people are currently doing now versus what they're capable of doing.
Speaker 2:
35:08
Yeah. I think that that really almost brings me to, you know, one of those questions, which is you think about all these people who are going to be displaced in the future. I mean, do you think that when you think about like how to effectively communicate, uh, with people who are possibly going to be displaced, we touched upon this a little bit. I mean, are there people out there that, you know, just need to work on their communication skills and in order to future proof their careers and in order to figure out how to, you know, basically stay relevant?
Speaker 1:
35:44
I think yes and no. Yes and no because the reality is in our gig based economy, there are jobs for everyone in so many different ways, in so many different places. Let's say your job is going to be replaced by automation, but you have a valid driver's license and a clean record boom. You can have a mini business. You can start to earn money driving for Uber driving for Lyft or any of these other companies. There are so many different ways in this gig economy to be able to do that, that yes, communication skills are important. Do I think everyone needs to improve their communication skills? Of course. I,
Speaker 2:
36:15
this is something, something I feel like I can say a little bit better than you. Uh, which is that, I mean I might almost argue that these types of skills are more important because of the gig economy, which I hadn't really thought about. But I mean when you have a job that you're not always in danger of any given day losing it. When you have, you know, gig based work, uh, you know, when you're somebody like on Upwork or five or whatever, you can lose things or you know, continually grow your business on a day by day basis based off of your communication skills and how well you're effectively representing yourself.
Speaker 1:
36:48
Without question. I think the jobs are immediately at risk of being eliminated based on technology and stuff. A lot of the things in manufacturing, a lot of the things in a very minor data oriented tasks, data entry, that type of thing. Communication skills all over the board are essential. Very biased statement, but I would stand by that to my grave even if I didn't do what I did, but the reality is we now have more options than ever to earn a living and they're not all this traditional job paths. So you know in terms of [inaudible] people future-proofing their careers, communication is always going to be beneficial. What I would also suggest is look at what you're doing, look at it as much as you can from a logical perspective. Try to get out of the fear of being replaced mode. Try to get out of the fear of what is happening in this situation and look at it from what would I actually like to be doing more of of the things I do on a regular basis, what would I like to be doing more of? And then focus on communicating that now to your supervisor, to your manager, to your leader. Have those conversations now before the job gets replaced or before a task gets eradicated or replaced by technology.
Speaker 2:
38:03
So a minute ago you were talking about inherent biases, which eye brings me up to an important question. I've asked a lot of the futurists that we've had on, uh, how does somebody, like you or anybody acknowledged their inherent biases and work around them when they're trying to be a better futurist? You know, so for instance, you kind of are incentivized to believe that communication, uh, will be important than the future. You know, and I think that obviously it is true in your case, but how does the average person get around the me too? Ism, you know, tie, type of thought process. Uh, it, we had somebody who was a leader in the programmatic advertising world. How does somebody like that, uh, get around, uh, you know, accepting that programmatic advertising of course will be huge in 10 years. Like maybe you need a question, your beliefs in order to get beyond them. I mean, I'll just let you talk and cause I think that that's an important thing for everybody to think about. If they want to make better predictions.
Speaker 1:
39:01
I think it's a really good question and it's something that actually, it wasn't until this past year that I really focused on addressing mentally, and it was at the question of a client that came up says we're his struggling with gen Z a lot in the workplace and their patterns of communication and what they're doing and it's disrespectful and it's unprofessional. And they were saying all of these pretty negative connotative words about their younger employees. And they said, that was such vitriol that I'm like, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. It can't be all that bad. And it actually made me come into question my own biases about what is professional communication? What is business communication, how does that look like? And you take a group of, you know, people, new employees like genZ who, and I'm grabbing my phone right now to try to demonstrate, but their entire lives, imagine you were raised your entire life where whatever was on a device that you could hold in your hand was more important than humans sitting right in front of you. Because even though people will put their phone on vibrate, let's be honest, your phone is on vibrate. Everyone still hears it and it distracts for a split second, if not longer, everyone's attention in the room. And especially the person whose phone it is or anyone related to them. So you're sitting around, let's say you even had family dinners, mom or dad forgets to turn their phone off. There's a ding in the middle of you telling an important story about your day and that's your entire life.
Speaker 2:
40:29
So just to kind of build on that point, you know, and I know we've got to wrap up in a minute or two, but when you think about that distraction, right, that vibration, uh, what winds out in the end, uh, is it the, do we just always, are we going to be distracted forever? Or are the people, the technologists, uh, going to acknowledge that we're doing a little bit too much in the way of distraction and the consumer will demand better products? Let's say that don't distract and instead, I don't know, um, I'll have a little chip in my head that will just kind of pulse so nobody else will hear it. But I'll know that I've got a message coming from my wife and then I double click. Um, you know, my far had in order to see like a little overlay and obviously I'm joking to some extent, but some of these things will exist at some point.
Speaker 1:
41:14
But see in these situation, nobody wins. There is no win because if I'm having a conversation with you right now and I have this magical chip in my head that's buzzing, my attention is momentarily distracted away from you and whatever we're doing right now, which is a disservice and a disrespect to you in a way. And then it's also taking my mind off what was it task and I haven't needed that job. I'm used to being disrespected. But I mean I definitely see your point and I think it's a, it's a valid one. It's kind of like my general theory around innovation and progress is it's kind of two steps forward and one step back and we generally lose something. Uh, and it's not often enough for us to not adopt that new technology or platform or whatever. Uh, but we lose something. So to me it's like that vibration.
Speaker 1:
42:00
It is that, and obviously it doesn't, in the future it won't be a vibration and there'll be a flash. So there'll be something, it'll be something, right? So it's not good. So it'll be basically both things, our conscious management of our use of technology and prioritizing human relationships that are literally right in front of your face that will start to shift that. But in doing so, we have to realize that a lot of people in the workplace would demand it. To tie up your question about bias, professional communication, can you still be a professional communicator when you're in a meeting and checking your phone at the same time? And I had to check myself because my guts like, no, you need to be paying attention. And the reality is, do you, do you in that moment need to be listening to whatever's being said at that moment more than you need to be checking something on your device.
Speaker 1:
42:50
And there's not always a yes or no answer to that. There's a lot of gray area in there. So from my bias perspective, what is considered professional in the workplace? And I think that's a challenge that cross generational differences are having right now is what one generation saw as professional communication is not what another generation sees as professional communication. And instead of acknowledging that these are differences and not necessarily good or bad, there's a lot of conflict that's emerging from them, which right now is good for me because it means I have more business. But you want to see how those things are playing out.
Speaker 4:
43:22
Yeah, I liked that. I liked that you're honest about it's good for you. But at the same time, hopefully some of these things will get smoothed out and I, it's a time of great friction. But uh, you know, really glad that we've got people like you to get us through it. So Jill, thank you so much for joining us today.
Speaker 5:
43:37
Thank you for having me, Jeremy,
Speaker 4:
43:43
and thanks to all of you for, uh, paying attention to us as we were, I realized something you were probably distracted on your phones as we were talking about being distracted on your phones, but that's okay. Uh, make sure to subscribe if you haven't already, if this is your first time joining us, uh, and rate and review us on every single platform possible, including Apple podcast. But we also love Stitcher. We also love insert fever, uh, podcast, uh, app here, uh, and it really helps, uh, uh, listeners follow the show and discover all the great stuff we're doing. So thanks again for all the really great feedback that we've been getting from you guys. Uh, once again, I'm Jeremy Goldman and you've been listening to future.
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