I love the Olympics. I love it because it stirs your emotions. Excitement, Patriotism, Empathy. You can almost feel the joy and the pain: even share in the experience but without the training! I was captivated by Katherine Grainger and Victoria Thornley in their final. What a triumph. It took me to Katherine’s blog and I read this:
Experience will always count for something. You know what to expect,
the nerves never get less, the pressure never gets less. That is where I thrive…
Back at my desk, that really got me thinking. Exactly what is experience? How does it impact the performance of business people? We concentrate so much on knowledge and skills when we train people. We try to motivate colleagues to increase their work rate, and we aim to refine processes to increase efficiency and quality. I guess in coaching and mentoring we try to share some of those experiences: those lessons learned.
But let’s be honest here: mentoring is really only extensively used in the more senior roles in an organisation. Have you ever heard of customer service agent mentoring? The organisation’s experience rarely finds its way to the volume of people that spend the most time at the sharp end – actually in contact with customers.
How can an organisation leverage its experience in scale?
Having an interest in the transfer of repetitive tasks to machines to increase quality and reduce cost, I then tried to apply experience to Artificial Intelligence – how does it manifest itself?
My conclusion was that it is actually vastly easier to capitalise on an organisation’s experience in AI technology than it is with people. The reason for this is straight forward. It's not so easy to understand what someone is really trying to do – their intent. But once you have done that initial validation, you can then look for the information required to help: that’s easier because it is held mostly in sources that can be predicted and controlled. And then the easiest thing of all – what to do next.
When I know what the customer needs, and I have found the relevant information, I need to decide how I respond. I need to apply experience to get the best outcome. And this is where an organisation can get a huge uplift. By using a machine instead of a person, you can be assured how it will respond in given circumstances, and so you can also be totally exact with what outcome a particularly approach actually achieves – the very essence of experience. The result: more optimised outcomes in customer interaction and a higher performing company.
Last question: with all that experience – Michael Phelps: Man or Machine?