Meet Your Newest Async Teammate: AI
Though the benefits of AI for the workplace have been making headlines lately, so much of what’s out there seems to cater to the individual. But there are even more benefits when AI is focused on team impact.
By Connor Sears in
Though the benefits of AI for the workplace have been making headlines lately, so much of what’s out there seems to cater to the individual — write memos faster with ChatGPT, or improve your client interactions with predictive tools. But there are even more benefits when AI is focused on team impact.
The efficiency of a team is the heartbeat of any organization. And for asynchronous teams, any tool that can help save time and automate sticky processes can drive that efficiency. With more meetings happening and that knowledge later being shared with those who want to stay in the loop, it can feel like employees are expected to act as a production company on top of their regular job.
While feelings are decidedly mixed about the future of AI in the workplace, the right AI tools can make everyone on your team an effortless creator and sharer of knowledge without lifting a finger.
Team workflows are where the meaningful work gets done — or gets bottlenecked. Any tool that can organize those workflows can maximize impact in a way that compounds over time. Teams achieve more than individuals can. When time is saved team-wide, the time you get back is multiplied.
Bigger teams can complete bigger, more complicated projects using complementary skill sets. But while scaling is the goal of many companies, it’s worth keeping in mind that the more people you add the greater the complexity you invite. More players means more coordination required, more awareness, and way more communication. Transitioning from a two person team to 20, to 40 takes a whole new set of muscles, and in these transitional periods decision making slows down and information gets siloed.
Using AI to help in those moments of change and growth is a way to keep that small team feeling while reaping the benefits of your growing organization.
When asynchronous teams grow and change, it’s easy for two crucial things to go out the window: communication and intentionality. When looking at AI tools through a team lens, those issues can disappear.
Building a working culture that ensures the right information is shared with the right people can result in a lot of dogma within organizations. Demanding a certain way of working requires enforcement, vigilance, and stamina. because being intentional about knowledge sharing is an uphill battle — everyone has a lot of other stuff to do! This is when communication is seen as a burden, rather than a necessity.
With AI these tasks can begin to happen automatically. Meeting notes, summarization, dissemination — all of these tools are getting faster, more accurate, and more accessible. Automating a crucial step with a smarter tool means still being intentional about knowledge sharing without spending the energy on it.
Communication is the mission critical task that growing teams struggle with the most, and for async teams the issue is 10X. Your work may as well never have happened if you don’t communicate it, and yet it’s a challenge that burns out both founders and employees. Only small companies ever truly use the term “well-oiled machine,” because it’s much easier to have awareness over what 12 people are doing than over 100. AI has the potential to help big teams feel small again.
So how can AI help not just the people on your teams but the holistic team itself? We can think of about a million future use cases, but here are some high-level predictions:
Saving employee time via meeting reduction
Not everyone needs to attend every meeting — in fact, the more passive attendees at a meeting, the less productive it becomes. But with the right technology, everyone has the ability to get value from every meeting without having to be present. Being able to offer those who weren’t present at a meeting with AI meeting summaries, video highlights, and the ability to participate within context after the fact means teams can get the whole picture (at 2X speed) at a time that works for their schedules. This gives teams superpowers — it’s like people can be everywhere at once.
Remote teams know which meetings are worth their time and which are not. AI knows too, and over time an AI tool can recommend which groups of people should meet about which topics, a cadence for regular meetings, and other proactive suggestions based on data. The connective tissue of how your teams interact can be automated, leaving you more brain space to plan that meeting and get the most out of it.
Learning and development
Though some are concerned about AI becoming a replacement for team members, there’s more evidence to suggest that it will instead become your most effective teammate. With knowledge of a team’s priorities and preferences, AI tools can curate plans that serve everyone’s needs. Enabling a team with self-serve learning can fill in the gaps that turns a newbie into a tenured employee in record time. And the faster everyone is informed and up to speed, the more efficient and effective a team can be.
When you arm your team with tools that help them achieve more, it not only improves morale and job satisfaction, it strengthens your organizational health. Wasting time on bureaucracy leads to burnout and fatigue — and so much of that is just meetings about meetings. Without a system built out that clears the path for your teams to do their actual jobs, that’s the trajectory you’re on.
Even though knowledge management is vital to business success, there’s a long-running concept that 80% of a team is passive in this regard and 20% are active contributors. With AI on board, that shifts to 100% of the team contributing their knowledge back to the company brain, because that contribution is now automatic.
Teams work better when they’re streamlined, and AI is knocking at the door asking to be your newest 10X teammate.
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