This week the BBC were interviewing residents in Tupelo, Memphis, home of Elvis, ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration today.
Reactions were mixed but there was huge excitement from the young brass band who were practising furiously ahead of their performance at the inauguration in Washington.
Elvis' ‘All Shook Up' sums up our world today from a political perspective and also from a business one as leaders meet in Davos to try to orchestrate a fairer world in the face of automation threats to 30% of jobs in existence today, and also to tackle the growing divide in ‘haves’ and ‘have not's’.
A blue-print for future service
This week saw the 2017 kick-off of CCA’s programme for our influential thought leadership Industry Council hosted by Atos in London, where leaders challenged themselves in their leadership skills in a fast-paced, changing, ‘always on’ world.
The group are charged with creating a blueprint to 2020 – the objective of which is to try and make sense of the plethora of issues, concerns and complex narrative surrounding customer service today, and work towards building the right plans and strategies for our business and customers for tomorrow.
Initial discussions began at our networking dinner the evening prior, kindly supported by Scottish Development International and hosted by broadcaster Kaye Adams who asked the challenging questions of our guests around AI and robotics.
Of course automation of existing roles has been a recurring theme for the last century as innovation makes some things redundant - think of the poor horses when cars arrived!
Robots replacing humans...?
The idea that robots could replace humans in the workplace dates back to science fiction writers a century ago, and it has been a recurring theme in political life for almost as long.
Back in 1964, US President Lyndon B. Johnson created a national commission to examine the impact of automation on the economy and employment. Automation should be viewed as an ally, not an enemy, he said at the time. “If we understand it, if we plan for it, if we apply it well, automation will not be a job destroyer or a family displaced. Instead, it can remove dullness from the work of man and provide him with more than man has ever had before.”
What's different now is the scale and pace of change and even Stephen Hawking has warned of the threats if we sleepwalk into ill thought out automation which threatens our well-being as a population.
For our kick-off session however, leadership will be the topic of the day and how can we be the guiding lights to achieve ‘2020 vision’ for our organisations as we move through these turbulent and disruptive times.
2020 vision is seeing perfectly without the need for corrective glasses. The critical task for our leaders in the next 2-3 years is to achieve that ‘perfect sight’ and focus the lens on the steps to get us there. The challenge as always is that the lens is easily ‘blurred’ with distractions coming from the side.
To succeed perhaps we need to think about the very observant point from one of our keynote speakers at the session, William Montgomery, who talks about the difference between a compass and a clock as far as leadership goes – if you haven’t got your compass focused on the right direction, there’s no point in looking at the clock.