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Why did you send a bot to my meeting?
ALSO: talking psychological safety with Amy Edmondson
Expired Why didn’t you come in for my meeting?
Tired Why were you camera off in my meeting?
Wired Why did you send a bot to my meeting?
Have you tried sending a bot to a meeting in place of you yet? The feature, which is on general release on Google Workspace, and I think is now available in Microsoft Teams Premium is potentially one of the biggest changes in how we work.
One of my favourite people to talk to about the use of AI in work in Microsoft’s Alexia Cambon. I was on a panel with her a couple of weeks ago and before we went on stage she talked about the emergent behaviour that they are starting to see. The reason for most attendance at meetings is ‘information exchange’ and sending a bot to listen and summarise what went on seems to be a highly efficient way to do this with a tasty saving of time. Rather than sit for an hour, you can read 5 bullet points and get stuck in to any follow-up actions.
While in principle sending a bot seems to be a great way to reduce the huge burden of meeting time that is afflicting all of us, the challenge is that leaders are taking offence when bots turn up in a meeting rather than people. I’m always interested in how our rules of etiquette are evolving in real time. (Related: the Washington Post published the updated etiquette for phone calls in 2023: ‘don’t leave a voice mail… and text before calling’.) It will be interesting to see what meeting etiquette looks like in a year, and whether we’re willing to evolve it to take advantage of the benefits of new technology. If you’ve used a meeting bot tell us how it was.
I listened to an interesting interview with Ben Horowitz last month where he referred to the Samurai perspective of culture. ‘Culture is not a set of beliefs, it is a set of actions’. It came to mind when I read this long profile of the new Spurs manager Ange Postecoglou: “If you want to change, you have to change. You can’t keep doing everything the same and expect a different outcome. It’s pretty obvious”. Read it to see some of his actions (including delegating discipline to a council of players, reducing meetings and more)
Channel 4 boss says that younger workers are unwilling to respect the divergent opinions of others. I’ve seen a degree of this political intolerance and I think it’s a mistake to confuse something being recent with it being the fault of the young. My experience certainly wasn’t exclusively with Gen Z workers. I worked in a company where we had to remind colleagues that it was acceptable for some people to support Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. It’s very easy for a consensus to form that a whole group has the same views and it can become a political intolerance. (BTW I posted this on LinkedIn and received a furious response from people saying that voting for Trump is unacceptable and that there is a line. This at least demonstrates that this isn’t just about under 25 year olds. Whatever your opinion of Trump he is currently polling at over 50% of the US population. If you’re in a place where you won’t listen to the views of half of the workforce then you’re not the solution that you think you are)
UK sick days hit a 10 year high. While Covid cases (and long Covid) was credited with some of the increase, three quarters of respondents said they'd taken time off this year for stress. Mental health was the top cause of absence
During the pandemic tech firms like Facebook/Meta were acquiring so much property that experts started speculating that they had some magical insight into the future of work. Not at all, it was just contingency planning - right now they are trying to unpick a lot of the deals. Facebook pays SEVEN YEARS rent to get out of London deal - they never got to even have a house warming party
You might have also missed this week’s earlier post about what we can all learn about work from The Bear. After I posted it readers Gayle McFarlane and James Wright got in touch to recommend Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara. He’s a restauranteur who seeks to offer the experience that Ever offers in that episode of The Bear. The book isn’t available in the UK but this podcast interview with him is brilliant - make sure you stay for the hotdog story
Amy Edmondson is the most renowned organisational psychologist in the world. In other words she’s looked to more than anyone else for the answers of how to fix work.
In this in depth discussion she talks us through what she understands by psychological safety, how any of us can create it and what she believes the best team structure is to achieve it.
We’re also joined by Octavius Black, founder of Mind Gym, who provide behavioural science based interventions for lots of the biggest companies in the world. Both combine to create a brilliant discussion. Amy’s new book is The Right Kind of Wrong.