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AI and the team: It’s the way you tell ‘em

If someone told me last year it was a possibility an AI could join our team I would have thought they were being funny. Now it seems that this may happen over the next 3 to 5 years and it has made me think about our team dynamics and communication at Martyn Fiddler Aviation.

When I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s there was a popular Irish comedian called Frank Carson. As some of you may remember, he was able to elicit laughter from jokes that were often corny and groan inducing through his upbeat, silly and joyous delivery.

His timeless catch phrase “it’s the way I tell ‘em” implies it’s not so much what you say, but how you say it. Only a very small percentage of communication is received through words; the majority is made up of body language, tone, attitude, timing and countless other barely imperceptible cues.

Observing my colleagues at work is a curious thing. Throughout the days, weeks and months there is an ebb and flow of energy, conversations and activity. At times you could hear a pin drop, as if by some unspoken rule each individuals’ concentration has become laser focused and reaches a hushed crescendo; this is particularly true when a sale or purchase of a clients  aircraft is underway.

On the opposite end of the noise scale are problem solving activities – for example receiving notice of a complex situation with a tight deadline. Various team members are called upon to support the client administrator; the accountant, bookkeeper, compliance manager, the team manager and maybe a director or two. Together they get the job done for the client as quickly and as efficiently as possible whilst meeting VAT, corporate and aviation legislation.

Then there are the Friday afternoons. Light-hearted conversation begins, plans for the weekend are discussed, silliness creeps into people’s mood. This makes it sound as if Fridays are the only time we relax and have fun with each other; nothing could be further from the truth. One of the best attributes of our team is that we spend a lot of time laughing; both with each other and in the nicest possible way, at each other.

Joking, mickey-taking and irreverent humour are abound in the office daily, and although we always take our jobs seriously we are usually only one wise crack away from taking ourselves too seriously. Getting the job done for the client is always the priority and pressure is always relieved by having a laugh; pomposity and self-importance in the office is not tolerated.

It’s the ability to find humour in each other is what I think really binds us as individuals into a team and means we can work in a pressured environments without it becoming overwhelming.

I’ll get to the point now, will AI, a technology set to  transform the way we work together, be able to find its way into this delicate equation as part of our team without affecting team communication? Or will AI’s ability to overhaul how we gather data, present facts (including presenting opinions as “facts”), write content, and so much more, pose a threat to the community spirit that is found in being part of a team? Will it aid or hinder meaningful communication?

I will watch with interest as AI’s integration into businesses develops and watch for the opportunity to bring it into the team. And maybe one day AI will be able to pass the ultimate team member test; the ability to tell the most awful jokes known to mankind with a great result…..“What’s a magicians favourite cheese?”……. “Che-DARRRRR!!!!”



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About the author

Martin Kennaugh is Aviation Director at Martyn Fiddler Aviation and is based in the Isle of Man. Martin joined the ICM Group in 2007 and quickly developed ...

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