In a nutshell, my latest book examines powerful forces that are reshaping the workplace. As I researched them and wrote the book’s manuscript, the fascinating interrelationships between and among these forces began to manifest themselves.
Examples abound, but today I’ll focus on a single question: What happens when employee empowerment, dispersion, and generative AI tools such as ChatGPT collide?
We starting to find out.
If managers can’t see their subordinates during the day, then what’s to prevent the latter from taking on a side hustle or four?
Moonlighting in the Age of AI
To be fair, moonlighting is hardly a novel concept. The advent of powerful generative AI tools, however, changes everything.
As Steve Mollman writes for Fortune:
James Clarke, the CEO of Clearlink, a Utah-based digital marketing firm, explained why he feels workers need to return to the office. Among his comments:
“Some of our developers could be working for two different companies. We don’t know. We hope that’s not the case, but we don’t know. Many content writers today are now exclusively using A.I. to write. I can do that in about 30 minutes of an eight-hour workday. So what do we need to do? Let’s put out 30 to 50 times our normal production.”
For all sorts of reasons, Clarke’s simplistic proposed solution won’t work. Adding salt to the wound, the CEO now finds himself routinely mentioned with other tone-deaf leaders like MillerKnoll CEO Andi Owen.
Get used to the nine forces.
For starters, the labor market remains historically tight, and employees forced to exponentially increase their output will shirk, quietly or actually quit, or both. Apart from that, though, insisting upon 40x the output will invariably lead to a decrease in quantity. The portions may be ample, but the quality will suck.
So, what’s the simple solution?
There isn’t one.
Simon Says: The cure is worse than the disease.
In the final chapter of The Nine, I propose six alternatives for leaders to navigate this era of unprecedented change. Make no mistake: Reflexively magnifying employee workloads isn’t one of them.
Get used to the nine forces. Not only are they not disappearing; they are intensifying with no end in sight.
What say you?