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Judgment calls

Preparing leaders to thrive in the age of intelligent machines.

Overview

With the advent of intelligent machines, organizations can finally unleash the true potential of their workforce. That’s because machines will enable managers to make faster, more thoughtful, collaborative decisions. And, as machines take on routine tasks, they will free managers to focus on more strategic work and make the judgment calls that even the most advanced machines can’t.

But transitioning to this sort of “judgment work” won't happen overnight. Organizations need to start taking steps today to build their judgment muscle. If they don’t, they simply won’t have the skills that will differentiate them in the years ahead.

DOWNLOAD JUDGMENT CALLS: PREPARING LEADERS TO THRIVE IN THE AGE OF INTELLIGENT MACHINES [PDF]

Key Findings

Intelligent machines will make it possible for organizations to unleash the true potential of their workforce. To seize the value of judgment work, organizations must first overcome two obstacles:

  • Managers don’t consider judgment a “team sport.” The best judgment is “collective” judgment. Yet, managers don’t focus on creating a culture in which group judgment can shine. They rank networking, coaching and collaboration low among the skills they believe they will need in the future.

  • Managers don’t appreciate all that intelligent machines can do for them. Many managers fail to understand that intelligent machines can accelerate decision-making and learning and make human judgment better. They don’t entirely recognize that intelligent machines can help them be more effective in applying judgment to drive organizational performance, growth, agility and innovation.

Recommendations

Organizations’ future success will be driven by their leaders’ ability to innovate and make better, faster decisions. But managers can’t transition to judgment work overnight. That’s why organizations need to:

  • Build judgment muscle by embracing the value of judgment work, recognizing the characteristics of successful judgment workers, and creating an environment that encourages managers to apply judgment skills.

  • Reward new sources of value through new metrics, talent selection and development programs, and incentives.

  • Build a network that boosts judgment by establishing cross-functional teams and ecosystem networks, as well as talent practices that encourage collective judgment.

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Methodology

In August/September 2015 the Accenture Institute for High Performance surveyed 1,770 first-line, middle-level and executive-level managers from 14 countries, representing 17 distinct industries. The goal of this survey was to assess the potential impact of cognitive computing on these managers’ jobs, and also understand their perceptions of their current tasks and skills, as well as the future of their positions. For the purposes of the survey, we defined intelligent machines as computers and applications that collect and analyze data, make informed decisions or recommendations for action, and learn from experience.

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Authors

Friederike Stradtmann

Ryan Shanks

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy,
Talent & Organization
Dublin, Ireland
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Friederike Stradtmann

Sunit Sinha

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy,
Talent & Organization
Gurgaon, India
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Friederike Stradtmann

Robert J. Thomas

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy,
Talent & Organization
Boston, Massachusetts
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