Large language models, such as ChatGPT, possess a vast understanding of management literature, which exceeds human capabilities. This offers intriguing possibilities for transforming management practices. Here are three ways ChatGPT could revolutionize the way we manage.
An End to Old Wine in New Bottles
Seasoned HR professionals often grumble about new ideas from consultancies or thought leaders, as they tend to repackage old concepts. The jargon-heavy presentation of these ideas can make it time-consuming to identify their lack of novelty. With ChatGPT, we could analyse new ideas, frameworks, or models and ask, "What, if anything, is new here?" and "How does this compare to previous theories?" This process could help eliminate unnecessary activity around flavour-of-the-month programs and move us toward evidence-based management, where ideas are evaluated based on their efficacy and downsides rather than their apparent novelty.
A Single Source of Truth
I can imagine a management team meeting to discuss a topic and the very first thing they do is called ChatGPT on a big screen and ask it to summarize the key issues around this topic. As the discussion proceeds, they will frequently ask ChatGPT questions like “What are the downsides of this approach?”, “What are some alternatives we should consider?”, “What would Steve Jobs say about this kind of issue?”
In all these cases what ChatGPT shares is only the beginning of the discussion, however, it does provide a well-grounded common starting point. Not only will it help accelerate the discussion it will help keep everyone on the same page. In a sense, it becomes the single source of truth that we all agree on as providing a good starting point for any discussion. All this could lead to more focused discussions and better decisions.
A Reduction in Really Dumb Decisions
Humans occasionally make bad decisions. A manager who is rushed or under stress or perhaps not very sensitive to interpersonal relations will shoot off an ill-considered e-mail or make a quick decision that has unfortunate consequences. While it may be hard to develop a truly brilliant and insightful AI assistant it may be that tools like ChatGPT can at least take bad decisions and turn them into mediocre ones. If managers routinely took a moment to run their ideas by ChatGPT before blasting them out then they might avoid actions that they and the organization will come to regret.
Making it Happen
The key to making this happen is to build ChatGPT into your management routine the same way you have built tools like schedules and agendas into the routine. For example, whenever a new framework is presented to your organization the first thing you would do is run it by ChatGPT to kick off the discussion. Similarly in meetings, it would be natural to start by reviewing the agenda, and then seeing what ChatGPT had to say about the issue at hand. Finally, it should become natural for leaders to say things to managers like, “Be sure you run the decision through ChatGPT before you act.”
All this is practical because ChatGPT is so fast and convenient. It should save a little time by getting us pointed in the right direction before we dive into a discussion or make a decision. Perhaps adopting ChatGPT as an everyday voice of advice will raise the quality of management a couple of notches.