The giant Pacific octopus has sparked fear and awe from Seattleites for more than a century, first as the object of sea hunters, then as a wrestling attraction in the 1950s and '60s. Today, the octopus is both a cultural symbol and an object of scientific study and fascination.
Why it matters: Artificial intelligence has shown an incredible ability to complete individual tasks, but many have wondered how well it can work with other robots or people to reach a goal. Facebook found out for itself by teaching an AI software to play a card game called Hanabi that requires teamwork and strategy. Facebook's results from the experiment could lay the groundwork for more advanced applications for deductive AI, including self-driving vehicles.
The only way to successfully have difficult conversations at work is to be clear about the facts involved and the agreed-upon standards, writes LearnLoft CEO John Eades. Once that foundation is established, the leader must be brave enough to enter into conversation and help the other person.
Year-end one-on-ones are a time to reflect, appreciate and look ahead, and leaders need a specific template for that type of conversation, writes Know Your Team CEO Claire Lew. She offers a four-part guide for leaders to focus on progress rather than judgment.
Executives get into trouble when they have too many priorities, so Jim Mannebach of Merryck & Co. advises having no more than three focuses that they identify, strategize for and monitor. "If there really are three things that are going to drive value, we better be on top of these in a regular cadence, whether it's weekly or monthly," he says.
Online companies have the data and technology necessary to conduct experiments in customer experience, and the key to such testing is to be scientifically rigorous while accepting whatever the results bring, says Harvard Business School professor Stefan Thomke. He offers a five-step guide for organizations to develop a mindset of experimentation.
New public-company CEOs whose predecessor remains board chair face a dual challenge: pleasing the boss and mollifying stock market worries. Skillful communication by the CEO that is both self-confident and complimentary of the predecessor is a tricky but effective tactic, according to a study of 440 CEO successions in the S&P 500.
Finding gratitude can be done with small steps such as thanking others, treating yourself with kindness and helping others through charity and volunteering, writes Jesse Lyn Stoner. "Sometimes it's easier [to] feel pleasure in the little things than the big ones," she writes.
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins tries to learn from setbacks, whether personal or organizational, and he also views each new role as a chance to reset. "Every time you get promoted, you have to think deeply about what is it that made you successful in that job and ask yourself, 'What do I need to let go of, what do I need to keep, and then what do I need to do differently now?' " he says.
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