One of the UK’s most prominent workplace culture experts has urged business leaders to identify where human input can add the most value to their organisations as AI technology drives ‘the biggest change in working practices in decades’.

Colin Lamb, founder of UK-based global leadership consultancy Connect Three, was speaking as the award-winning leadership consultancy prepares to mark its 10th anniversary this summer. During that time, the business has grown from a one-person operation to a team of more than 30, working with marquee public and private sector clients including the Scottish Government, Highland Spring, NHS24, Merck, SKY, and many more.

Lamb, who has more than 20 years experience at the sharp end of business culture development including spells with McDonald’s, Tennent’s, Buzzworks, G1 Group, and Mackenzie Construction says AI is already redefining the role of people in the workplace, and warned that businesses that don’t prepare their organisations and people for the pace of change over the next five years will be left behind.

He said: “AI is so huge and we’re barely scratching the surface of what’s possible. The potential of Industry 4.0 – the realisation of digital technology in the workplace across all fields – is scary, but exciting. Human cognitive ability used to be what separates us from our animal ancestors, now that ability can be replicated by machines and we need to find new ways to set ourselves apart in the workplace.

“The most successful businesses will be those who quickly identify where human input can add value now and going forward, and begin to direct their human resource towards that. Leaders must be open to change, and so should their people. We can still learn quicker, more efficiently, and in better ways. Ten years from now things will look more different than they ever have before, and leaders and businesses need to be ready for that transition.”

Lamb founded Connect Three in 2014 in Glasgow after becoming frustrated at a dearth of suitable training and development options from the client side in Scotland. He spotted a gap for learning and development (L&D) programmes bespoke to the needs of an organisation, and focused on long-term outcomes and meaningful change in workplace culture, as opposed to ‘box ticking’ exercises prevalent elsewhere.

Lamb predicts purpose-driven businesses that work to integrate fresher thinking driven by younger generations and increased minority representation in the C-suite will be those to thrive over the next 10 years, and believes Connect Three will be there to help them deliver continued evolution in the workplace.

He added: “The past 10 years have seen a huge evolution in the workplace, but that will be nothing compared to what we expect to see over the next decade. Effective organisations need to facilitate the effective evolution of their workplace cultures to manage and thrive within that change, and we’ll be there to support them through it and beyond.”

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