2 female colleagues working with AI

By Felicia Bochicchio

What will your work life look like, a year from now? With the rate that AI tools are flooding the marketplace, it’s tough to say.

Between 30-second presentation builders, meeting note summary bots, and creative asset builders for every design need, it’s hard to imagine that any facet of work life will remain untouched.

Intuitively, leaders know that there’s a huge upside in this change. AI automation creates efficiency and unlocks insight. It frees up resources and time for minds to work on the highest-value problems. These bright spots have untold benefits for differentiation and market leadership, for those prepared to grab them.

But this scale of change brings major disruption. And with it, an underbelly of anxieties we all need to reckon with. Questions like – How will this affect my job? My career path? Our market position? – are quietly becoming loud. They hover over our hiring decisions, growth initiatives, and the bets we make to lead the charge into the newest, blue AI ocean.

While no one knows what the future holds, one thing is certain: AI is here to say, and the rate of change is only going to increase.

As leaders in tech, we need to take a proactive stance on how we will engage with it. My advice? Treat AI like a relationship that needs nurturing. You need to get to know it, explore how it can fit in your world, and get prepared for a long road ahead where its presence in your day-to-day is set to increase and change things, dramatically.

AI is already active in our homes, running behind our favourite everyday apps, and in our workplaces.

As technology continues to transform our relationship with work, we also need to reframe our relationship with AI. It can either function as the source of fear-based resistance and uncertainty. Or, it can be your biggest partner in unlocking professional and personal growth.

Here are some themes every leader in tech should be considering, to take ownership of your relationship with AI and have it support you well into the future.

Your relationship with AI is your competitive advantage

AI technology is evolving at a pace that we’ve never seen before.

Studies show that AI adoption in the workplace is high, with 90% of millennials using it in their day to day. We also know that 75% of these employees are either afraid or on the fence about telling their managers about AI use at work, for fear of being replaced by the tools they’re using.

Fears around job and product displacement are not unfounded. Major change can be a scary thing. But AI technology is not going away. So let’s talk about how it can be a friend, and a career accelerant instead.

For example, at Unbounce, we’ve enjoyed leading the market with CRO tools for marketers for over a decade. With generative AI’s mainstream debut in the marketplace in 2022, we’ve had to adjust our product and go-to-market approach.

As AI became more commonplace, we chose to innovate beyond AI table stakes and launched a suite of AI-powered tools that solve our customers’ toughest problems. For example, helping marketing leaders get landing page copy and images up quickly through AI, and making hyper-personalized variants possible for different audience segments. By staying relentlessly focused on how to serve our customers better, we’ve continued to grow and maintain a market leadership position, all while providing value for our community at higher levels than before.

If you’re sitting in uncertainty, and want to get closer to optimism in your relationship with AI, a helpful question to ask is: how could AI help me unlock new insight, capacity, or resources needed to achieve my most important objective?

One great first step you can take with AI is to identify opportunities where you can augment your existing processes or services. For example, adding an AI chatbot to service customer inquiries. Many teams are seeing benefits in leveraging AI here, to deliver faster customer service and refocus their Customer Service team’s energy on more strategic, or complex aspects of their role.

With your highest value products and problems outlined, it becomes more clear how AI can work alongside you as an ally to reaching your goals.

My advice? Treat AI like a relationship that needs nurturing. You need to get to know it, explore how it can fit in your world, and get prepared for a long road ahead where its presence in your day-to-day is set to increase and change things, dramatically.

Define your AI values and communicate them

If you lead a team of any size, it’s key that you develop a stance on AI usage, and communicate it to your team. Without this, people will carry uncertainty and fear around job security, performance, and possible career paths.

At Unbounce, my view is that it’s healthy for teams to acknowledge up front that things will change. AI will certainly alter career paths, products, and business strategies. Amidst this change, AI should be viewed as a tool to help augment the work people are already doing. For us, AI usage is encouraged as part of our culture of experimentation and growth. We want our team members to have an active, optimistic relationship with AI, to share learnings, and to drive both professional and business growth.

If you haven’t yet arrived at a set of organizational values or policies around AI, a great way to start is by inviting your team into the process to shape things.

Rather than approaching it with a top-down policy, invite your team to look across the organization and identify problems to solve. Then allocate some time for teams to explore how new AI solutions could help. Your salespeople will know the top objections that need to be handled to close an opportunity. Your front-line customer success team will know the most common questions customers ask, that you should be resolving earlier in their journey.

This approach to AI usage creates multiple benefits for your organization. Asking each team to identify the top challenges and opportunities, curates a list of potential growth initiatives you might otherwise overlook. Doing this also actively shapes your culture – by inviting your team into the process of how AI will impact their work, you’re enabling them to take ownership of the coming change and place AI in the role of a partner, not a threat.

Reassess your giants, and explore how AI can help

Many businesses have a set of ‘high opportunity problems’ that hold the keys to massive growth and value creation. Think finally landing on a single source of truth for your data, or getting hyper-specific content personalization delivered to your customers at scale.

In the past, the perceived resources required to tackle giants like these caused them to be deprioritized, backlogged, or even ignored altogether.

With AI, solving these large ‘opportunity problems’ may no longer be so out of reach. What used to be impossible for many businesses to take on – like building a machine learning model from scratch to enrich customer insights – is now completely accessible. Organizations now have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage their data in concert with these accessible machine learning models, to drastically drive the business forward.

For leaders, this is a call to re-evaluate, and potentially rework your team’s growth priorities from the ground up. What were once major sticking points, may now be viable for your team to execute on, thanks to AI.

At Unbounce for example, we’ve collected billions of customer data points surrounding conversion events on landing pages over the years. To uncover new ways to improve conversion for our customers, we’re leveraging AI to combine, and better understand, data points in concert. These new insights directly inform our product, positioning, and future growth plans in ways that would be more difficult to pull off without AI’s help.

Change and progress with AI is inevitable. It’s going to require leaders to redefine their relationship with work and technology and collaborate with their teams to define shared values and new paths for businesses and individuals alike.

The future belongs to those who not only adopt AI, but truly embrace it as a partner for reaching unprecedented growth and innovation.

About the author

Felicia BochicchioFelicia Bochicchio

With more than 25 years in software sales and leadership, Felicia has a rare talent for developing high-performance teams and transforming tech startups into aggressive-growth companies. As the former Vice President of Sales and Strategy at the Active Network, Felicia supported the company’s expansion from its early startup days to becoming a $400 million dollar company trading on the NASDAQ.

At Unbounce, Felicia’s focused on putting conversion intelligence tools into the hands of marketers worldwide and continuing to invest in the company’s people-first culture and commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion.