UNLEASH America 2023 kicked off with a bang. The man who closed out UNLEASH World in Paris in 2022, Gary Bolles, opened the Day One keynote in the US with a conversation about the ‘Great Reset’. Employees need the right skillsets, toolsets and mindsets to thrive in this ever-changing world.
Guild’s chief people and purpose officer Dean Carter then picked up that thread.
He shared his (and Guild’s) four-point changemaker compass for thriving in turbulent times: purpose, values, redesign and regenerate.
It is no surprise that purpose is top of mind for Carter – it is literally part of his title at Guild, plus until last year, he was the head of HR at Patagonia, which has long been leading the way on being a mission-driven company.
Purpose must be your company’s North Star – it is why we all exist, and Carter is clear that Guild’s purpose (“unlocking life-changing opportunities for growth through education”) was central to why he took the role.
When thinking about your purpose, Carter is clear that being genuine and authentic, thinking about serving society (and doing so in the long-term) is absolutely essential.
While “purpose is the long-term view”, values guide companies in their everyday decisions.
“If you look at those values and if there isn’t a decision you’re making every day about those values, then it probably isn’t a value”, shared Carter.
Not all the decisions based on these values will be popular, but they allow companies to show up and make the decisions that matter.
Of course, these values can’t be virtue signalled and just appear on a plaque – they need to show up in benefits, onboarding, interviews, recognition etc; all the HR touchpoints.
Redesigning and regenerating HR and work
The remaining two points on Carter’s compass are all about challenging the status quo. “To change the outcome, you have to change the system”, declared Carter.
It’s high time that companies really redesign and reinvent how they think about skills and employee experience – are you making sure that people’s lives are better because they work for you? – if you can’t say “hell yes”, that’s a problem.
Pause and play needs to become a more normal part of work – as does community.
Success here comes once HR has a seat at a table. Only 8% of boards have CHROs on them – this is despite the fact that the number one issue for boards year in and year out is talent.
Become the change you want to see. “Get ready now for the future”, concluded Carter
“Be more human in the world of AI”
There are very few people who could follow Carter’s fantastic insights. Thankfully, the second keynote of day one at UNLEASH America 2023 was able to live up to the hype.
Self-proclaimed “mad scientist”, Dr Vivienne Ming is a neuroscientist who has spent decades studying intelligence – both human and machine.
And she declared in her UNLEASH America 2023 keynote: “AI may be the most powerful tool humans have invented, but it is just a tool. It’s what we do with it that matters.”
She reminded the audience that while it may feel like ChatGPT, BARD and other generative AI models may feel intelligent, they don’t actually understand what they are saying. Plus it is giving right and wrong answers only – where is the nuance?
Humans need to lean into what makes them unique, and focus on moving beyond existing knowledge, instead focusing on getting creative and exploring the unknown.
“AI can tell us what people already know. What’s left is unknown and unexplored”, shared Ming. “Be more human in the world of AI.”
The most innovative teams, according to some work that Dr Ming did during COVID-19, were small (three to seven people), diverse (in all senses of the word, not just race and gender) and psychologically safe.
This triplet allowed these teams to explore new ideas, and new frontiers. Ultimately, AI and technology gives humans the space to focus on ideation and creativity – so rather than replacing people, it will make them better.
“Your unique value is you” – and, especially, how everyone thinks differently from everyone else.
Sign up to the UNLEASH Newsletter
Get the Editor’s picks of the week delivered straight to your inbox!
We found search results for
- Product Announcement
- UNLEASH America 2023
- Clear filters