Home > Digitalizacija > Charles Towers-Clark: The W.E.I.R.D. CEO, How to lead in a world dominated by Artificial Intelligence

Charles Towers-Clark: The W.E.I.R.D. CEO, How to lead in a world dominated by Artificial Intelligence

Professionally, there are four reasons for changing our approach to work: technology, business, social issues and education.
Technology is changing faster than ever before. Changes in technology is moving into non-manual jobs with AI and so more creative jobs will be needed.

Business challenges like hierarchies, communication and scalability will require fundamental not only incremental changes. Hierarchical organizations are not suitable for new generations. They have slow communication lines and delayed and disjointed decision making. With scalability and communication, we could see drop in productivity per person, when we are expanding workforce. This is called Ringelmann effect.

One of the social challenges arise due to increase number of information. Too much choice leads people to question their decision when unrealistic expectations of perfection result in disappointment. So different approach to changes is also needed. Indy Johar, founder of Dark Matter Labs said: »…this is a future which fundamentally asks us to rewrite the models of change – from hard power to soft power, from command and control to protocols, mutual accountability, investment & system leadership. «

In educational field changes of existing model, that will adjust to search for creativity in the future is needed.

Idea of W.E.I.R.D. model is that include employees into company business more:
• W – wisdom: is that wise decision?
• E – emotional intelligence: show empathy und understand others better with use of emotional intelligence, making teamwork much easier.
• I – initiative: it is reverse side of control; company gives control to employees.
• R – responsibility: by expecting responsibility, you need to give freedom.
• D – development (self): satisfaction of doing good job is the best motivation for employees.

Technological change

In technological sense we are seeing development of disruptive technologies that are changing everything. Generation Z and younger millennials are natively comfortable with technology, they embrace disruptive technologies and will ensure that change happens. The opportunity to employers lies in understanding this, giving employees the freedom to make decisions and recognizing them for the changes they make.

Differences between computers and brain according to an article at ScienceBlogs are:
• Brains have an inbuilt retrieval system that can retrieve a full memory with few clues. Computers need mass of storage and super retrieval capability.
• Brain are not restricted to short-term memory.
• Neurons in brain are electrochemical – the chemical part of the signal adds a level of power that computer do not have with electrical signal alone.
• In brain processing and memory are performed together. Not in a computer.
• The brain is self-organizing system.
• Brains have bodies which provide senses and other advantages.
• Brains are bigger than any current standard computer.

Machine learning is using key advantages computers have over humans. Speed, accuracy and lack of bias – whilst adding in some human classification skills. Humans use classification to store thoughts, memories and ideas in different parts of brains. This categorization allows for easier recall, ability of prediction and weight of probability of future outcomes. Machine learning and deep learning are trying to achieve that.

Three main technologies that are shaping our world and will do that with exponential speed are IoT (sensors around the world that will collect data), Big Data (streams from sensors and digital footprint) and Artificial Intelligence (using those data to create efficient outputs).
Deep learning does try to emulate brain work, but its advantage is that it doesn’t mind if it is wrong, feedbacks are used to repair a model not to bring emotional distress. In people, the older we get the harder it is to change connections in the brain because they get stronger the more they are used.

Automation is another field where acceleration will grow. When cost of computer power and reduction of power needed for high level computing will drop to a level comparable to human brain activities, we can expect another jump in computer usage. People are afraid about job losses due to use of robots. But to put it in perspective. In 2018 Amazon had 100.000 robots. For each Amazon robots, two jobs are lost in companies trying to compete with Amazon.

Legislation is one of the areas that influence adoption of technology. Estonia with its digital strategy is a country that is most advanced in this field. With its united database of citizens data (X-Road), they have built strong platform for adoption of digital initiatives in all areas of society.

Business change

Today’s workforce expects a different working experience than that provided by many hierarchical organizations and self-management provides a preferable environment. Self-managed team and flat organization is one of the approaches. With more manageable groups need varying levels of reporting and decision-making. Reporting can be done for informational or control reasons. For self-managed teams to operate effectively, there are two additional requirements. Firstly, the team must understand the values, goals and objectives of the company. Secondly, transparency of all information is necessary.

Semco Brazilian company introduced system where there are three layers of management, all information’s are provided to all employees, employees define their own salaries, how they want to work and which work they want to do, and all controls are eliminated. Decision making process usually takes longer, with a lot of communication, but implementation is much quicker. By being encouraged to make their own decisions, employees are far more likely to take initiative, leading to greater productivity and improved team working.
In the field of communication and scalability approach of employees taking care for them self-require a lot of effort into creating good listening advice and smooth growth integration into daily business.

It is worth knowing what competition is doing, but there is no value in spending time worrying about it. In order to be more successful than competition, you need to create a position that will differentiate you from them.

Social change

We live in a much better world than ever before. But we tend to rely on historic rather than current facts. So sometimes we don’t see that. New generations want more from jobs than just money. They wanted to be appreciated and hear. New models are possible with new technologies. Technology has already changed our way of working, but introduction of AI is the elephant in the room that cannot be ignored.
Big question that growth of AI will bring, will be who owns the data in a data driven world? Why, with all the available data, would the next generation choose to make instinctive decisions.

We have pre and post-revenue companies. Well-funded start-ups are grabbing customers, regardless of the cost, in the hope that the data gained will more than pay back the cost of acquiring these customers. It is this approach to building companies that makes it extremely difficult for revenue-creating, organically grown companies to survive and why the lure of inventors with deep pockets allowing companies to buy customers (or data) is so hard to resist.

In January 2017 in Asilomar, California, a set of 23 principles were formulated in the hope of ensuring Artificial Intelligence is used beneficially for human kind. The main question to answer is: how can we grow our prosperity through automation whilst maintaining people’s resources and purpose?

In future legal uncertainty will be largely avoided due to smart contracts which will ensure action follows an event without human interaction.
With rise of automation jobs will disappeared, but if you want to have companies you need consumers and if you lose working class, you also loose consumer class. This could be a ground for introducing universal basic income.

Educational change

Current educational system does not capture children’s attention. It needs change. Suggesting that people will lose their job to Artificial Intelligence is one level of controversy. Suggesting that children should be educated differently is far more emotive. But if we don’t change it, our children will not be prepared for world where humans will need versatility. Project and personalized teaching are ways to do it. Personalized learning can be divided into three categories: data driven learning, adaptive learning and intelligent tutoring. But we have to be careful, there is a thin line between persuading students to take ownership of their studies and ensuring that learning covers all the core shills that they will need in later life.

Another improvement would be to start teaching Emotional and Social Intelligence. They include: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management and responsible decision making.


Changing attitudes is hard. It is achieved more easily when things are going badly than when they are going well. Rather then focusing on trying to change attitudes, it is easier to focus on taking steps that result in a change of attitudes. Changes need to start at the top, at CEO level.

Areas where this methodology is focusing on employee levels are recruitment, conflict and dismissal. More time for recruitment, new methods to solve conflicts, with emphasize on individual communication and conflict resolution protocols and if employees are not doing good job, look for what they are good at and try again and if it doesn’t improve, do a dismissal quickly.

Transparency in employees salaries is a hard step to take. Buffer, company who makes clever social media tools, have a formula: benchmark X a cost of living multiplier X a role multiplier X an experience factor. In Pod Group, company of author, they let people choose their own salaries. Estimation is that they overpay by 10% because of that.

Constant evaluation and appraisals are included in everyday work. Not so much as with Ray Dalio approach but regular enough. Teamwork in encouraged. No stars and egos on the team. In the first phase of implementing WEIRD, company stayed with departments, but latter they move to teams, with specified projects.

Improving taking responsibility between employees demand transparency of sharing information. Also sensitive ones. Company policies are avoided if possible. They don’t track holidays, they don’t check expenses. They have flexi-hours for working hours. Place of work is flexible. Training is done based on people wishes. Organization focus on tasks rather then roles. Decision can be made by anybody. Any decision. Managers need to refrain from taking control. Strategy is created at the bottom and it stays close to the bottom. Their goals are »Enjoy yourself« and »Make money«.

With implementing self-management as approach, there is always question about managers role afterwards. Author believes that managers have important part in encouraging people forward, liaising between departments and developing structure and frameworks in which other people can soar.

Self-management along the lines of WEIRD is not going to work for majority of companies. Unless it is implemented in full, self-management is a dangerous can of worms to open. Giving people the illusion of self-management whilst not allowing it in reality will only lead to frustration and disappointment and eventually to the departure of good employees.

In process of change luck and culture are important. Business is uncertain and timing is important. If culture is strong, less corporate process company needs. But trust is probably the most important factor. Trust build on honesty, transparency and respect.

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