Is your decision making ready for the future? - Michelle Gibbings

Earlier this week in Seattle (USA), Amazon’s store of the future opened for the first time.

There’s no checkouts, queues or check-out operators.  But you do need to have the Amazon Go smartphone app installed so the gates guarding the entrance let you in.  You then simply wander into the store, put the items you want in your shopping bag and the product is automatically added to your online account.

If you’re interested have a look.

Pretty cool. This is all part of the increasing move to more automation as the use of AI and robotics changes how we work and live.

The 2017 Deloitte Human Capital Trends survey found that most companies are in the middle of this shift. Thirty-one percent of companies said they are in the process of implementing AI and robotics, and 34 percent are piloting selected areas.  While 10 percent said they are already either fully automated or highly advanced.

With these changes comes the inevitable fear of what happens to my role.

All roles will be impacted in some way.  Some roles will become redundant, while other roles will be disaggregated – the lower value tasks that are predictable and process oriented being given to a machine, while the higher value tasks that require something a computer can’t do will be hived off, creating new roles.

This means that the more boring and predictable tasks will be automated, leaving us to do the interesting creative things, or things that computers can’t do.  For example, logical thinking and problem solving, leading and caring for others using social and emotional capabilities, providing expertise, coaching and developing others, and creating new ideas and concepts.

All activities that require us to better understand what influences the decisions we make, and the decision making processes we use.

Our decision making is riddled with bias because of the inherent nature of how our brain works and takes and processes information.  If you want more on this, you’ll find this article interesting.

You make decisions every day, and if you are a leader you are making decisions that are likely to have consequences for yourself, your team and organisation. The breadth, depth and complexity of those decisions increases as a leader moves into more senior roles. As this happens, it becomes increasingly critical for leaders to have the capability to master complex decision making.

However, during the last 20 years, academics and practitioners across multiple disciplines have identified a growing gap between the complexity of the workplace and the capability of leaders.

This is known as the complexity gap.

To thrive in this age of complexity and to get decision making fit for the future requires an ability for you (and the leaders and team members around you) to better understand and leverage:

  • Collaborative capacity – the ability to bring together diverse perspectives to develop inclusive, innovative, and effective solutions to the problems your organisation is confronting
  • Contextual thinking – the ability to consider problems in terms of the broader systems and contexts in which your organisation is operating
  • Cognitive complexity – the ability to think deeply and broadly about complex issues

All of this comes with conscious awareness, deliberate practice and determined effort to uplift your capability to a new level.

So what are you going to do today that’s going to help your decision making?

As the Science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov said:

“It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” 

Get ready for tomorrow, today.

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate your Career’. For more information: or contact

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