‘Tis the season of merriment— a time to welcome in the new and perhaps to over-imbibe a wee bit. I am not talking about the Holidays and their seasonal accouterments; I am referring to the AI hype that is gathering momentum like a snowball on a hill. Businesses everywhere are getting drunk on the intoxicating expectation and promise of AI. So what is happening today that is making AI so heady? Analytics are not new, nor are the techniques for analyzing the data. In many respects current AI is little more than statistics on steroids. What is new is the dizzyingly accelerated power of decision-making offered by AI.

In the past the purpose of analytics was to support decisions. Leaders would embrace data much like a fine wine, twirling it about in a glass, tasting its potency and then enunciating a verdict on what they believe ought to be done. Now that we have cellars full of data, the data itself is determining the outcome or course of action in many fields, from medicine to finance and agriculture. This places leaders in a new and uncomfortable position. What is the value they bring to the table laden with data solution-enabled goodies?

A recent study by Deloitte found that 90% of organizations believe new digital competitors threaten their core business, while 70% believe they do not have the right leadership to be able to adapt. So how do leaders keep pace in this digital cornucopia? The answer lies in the need for leaders to constantly relearn and reinvent what value they will bring to their customers. Traditionally a company’s value proposition has been treated as a fairly constant source of competitive advantage, nicely nestled in for a long winter’s nap. The businesses that will blossom in the AI spring will be able to harness customer data to rethink the customer’s purpose for the product or service, not the offering itself.

Today’s AI techniques can assimilate huge amounts of data and discern relevant patterns and insights — allowing leaders to understand patterns and connections between dimensions. Just as physicians use data to create individualized medical solutions, and farmers use data to determine where to plant and how much to water, emerging AI systems will help leaders know more precisely what strategy will provide exponential growth and value for customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

There is no doubt that AI will revolutionize our world, and the promise of it makes us giddy with wonder. Before overindulging in a seasonal gluttony of AI, a word of Scrooge-like caution. As with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come—the most terrifying ghost to visit Ebenezer—who predicts what will happen if he stays the way he is, so too with leaders and AI. In order to take advantage of evolving AI technology, leaders need to readjust the mental maps and cognitive frames they use to navigate their world. Leaders with the right leadership mindset and the right leadership skillset will have a real leg-up in figuring out how to best utilize the promise of AI.

Marisa Paterson consults with CEOs and HR Executives to solve their toughest and most complex talent and leadership challenges in a digital era.

To connect with Marisa on how she can assist you as an Executive Coach or Leadership Specialist, message her directly at marisapaterson@westersonpartners.com