4 Steps to Harmonizing Your Expertise with Gen-AI for Future-Proof Success

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My first few go-arounds with ChatGPT didn’t leave me impressed. I asked it questions about my area of expertise: Future of Work trends and their implications on people and organizations. The answers were mediocre, unoriginal, and not something I could use. This realization was a wake-up call, signaling that the issue might lie with me—perhaps I wasn’t asking the right questions. In an attempt to improve, I began hoarding every “100 prompts for ChatGPT” list I could find online. Looking back, this approach was utterly misguided. After all, anyone can replicate generic questions for ChatGPT, making them far from intriguing. However, the true game-changer lies in merging your unique expertise with the advanced capabilities of these tools. This synergy is akin to turning up the volume, elevating your experience to heights previously unimaginable.

A writer is a writer, regardless of whether they’re using a pen, typewriter, word processor, or Gen-AI. The fundamental requirement is to be a writer at heart, while recognizing the distinct advantages of composing with digital tools over traditional pen and paper. This insight is now shared by seasoned professionals across various fields, who find that Gen-AI is revolutionizing their workflows. Consequently, it offers them an opportunity to rethink and enhance the value they contribute to their respective domains.

Currently, the potential of this opportunity is not widely recognized. According to global data from the end of 2023, 62% of ChatGPT users are under the age of 35—essentially, those who may not yet have had the chance to develop deep professional expertise. It’s precisely those with significant professional experience who stand to benefit the most right now, yet many are not seizing this chance. This reluctance could stem from a variety of reasons. Perhaps there’s a lack of exposure to the latest changes and innovations that these tools offer, leaving some to cling to outdated narratives that label them as unreliable, based on discussions from a year ago. Others might consider themselves “non-technical,” finding terms like “ChatGPT” intimidating and beyond their grasp. Or maybe even the essence of Artificial Intelligence is unsettling for some, leading them to stick with what’s familiar and well-known.

You don’t have to grasp the inner workings of an airplane to fly in one, just as you don’t need to become a tech guru overnight to wield Gen-AI effectively. The key is to envision the capability as a collaborator that amplifies the depth of expertise we already possess. The interplay between human intuition and the machine’s capacity to sift through and analyze data offers a distinct competitive edge for those with experience. The true magic resides in your experience—the skill to navigate complex, often intuitive processes refined through years of practice, now augmented by the prowess of Gen-AI.

Consider an advertising expert adept at sitting down with a client to discuss a need and crafting a successful campaign from that conversation. This process involves numerous steps, some deliberate and some based on intuition. Therefore, it’s not surprising that when such a professional experiments with new tools and asks ChatGPT to draft advertising ads, they might find the tool lacking. That’s what happened to me when I asked ChatGPT in essence to replace me and be able to respond to generic questions on the Future of Work. This disappointment stems from a misunderstanding of the tool’s optimal use. Instead, the approach should be to deconstruct the experience-based professional and unique processes we deploy into their various stages and craft queries for each. For the advertiser in this example, breaking down their process into stages will enable collaboration with Gen-AI to transform a simple client request into a plethora of innovative ideas for a campaign, complete with narratives, visuals, and promotional strategies, all within a remarkably short timeframe. In this scenario, the advertiser’s unique experience becomes the invaluable component. No single prompt, no matter how expertly crafted, can replicate the outcome that this personalized touch can achieve.

To bridge your expertise with innovative tools effectively, here are four actionable steps accompanied by examples of how I’ve successfully applied them in my own work:

Identify a routine task within your expertise that consumes a significant amount of time.

For instance, I translate my weekly column on the future of work, originally published in a national newspaper in Hebrew, into English for this newsletter. In doing so, I want to ensure it resonates with the global management context. Since the onset of the war, I’ve also been highlighting in the English version how Work@War fosters skills relevant to the evolving work landscape.

Break down this process into detailed steps, akin to watching a movie in slow motion, to trace the journey from inception to completion.

For example, the workflow for translating the column begins with an initial Hebrew version and ends with a publishable English piece, comprising the following steps: basic translation, correction and editing of the translation, pinpointing local contexts that defy direct translation, finding examples that require modification for relevancy, identifying a compelling message that bridges Work@War with the future of work, and finally, drafting the completed English column.

Collaborate—determine which part of the process is best handled by yourself, Gen-AI, or a combination of both. Then, create or utilize specialized tools for the segments that Gen-AI can efficiently undertake.

Example: Basic translation is performed by Google Translate. For correction and editing, I employ a customized GPT with specific editing directives, enabling it to refine texts translated by Google Translate, addressing most translation inaccuracies. This method has previously been explored in a previous column you can find here. I then identify contexts that can’t be directly translated based on my personal expertise. But in order to find relevant examples, I blend my expertise with Gen-AI, guiding the tools on the type of examples needed, explaining why local examples may not resonate globally, and requesting universal examples that appeal broadly.

The process of identifying an empowering message that links the Israeli Work@War experience with the future of work is another collaborative effort with Gen-AI. I engage with the tool to determine which messages from the original column are globally relatable, seeking appropriate worldwide contexts. This brainstorming can be hit or miss but invariably aids in refining the message.

For writing the final column in English, I utilize another dedicated GPT tailored to integrate the previous steps, new contexts, and the messages I wish to convey about the Israeli market’s resilience. I call this my “digital gnome” and it revises the column to suit a global audience, incorporating all refined messages. I’ve also instructed it to bold any alterations for a final review before publication, recognizing that while the system is advanced, a human touch is essential for perfection.

Improve—given the rapid pace of technological advancements and the continuous release of new tools and capabilities, it’s crucial to keep refining both the tools themselves and your proficiency in utilizing them. Ultimately, your objective is to leverage these tools in a manner that enhances your capacity to capitalize on your expertise, avoiding the squandering of time on tasks that can be efficiently delegated to them.

The peril of deep expertise in a swiftly evolving world is the risk of becoming so entrenched in our ways that we fail to notice when our skills become obsolete. It’s not that the tools will replace you entirely, but they will assume responsibility for aspects of your role. This necessitates allocating time, budget, and focus to master these tools, develop your “digital gnomes,” discover new plugins, and enhance and fine-tune your expertise. Indeed, this requires investment, but like any worthwhile investment, it liberates us to excel in what we do best—our unique expertise, setting us apart from the rest. In embracing these tools and dedicating ourselves to continual learning and adaptation, we not only safeguard our relevance in a fast-paced world but also enhance our ability to deliver unparalleled value through our unique expertise.

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Nirit Cohen

Nirit Cohen is an expert in the future of work, bridging the gap between emerging trends and practical solutions, providing valuable insights for careers, management, organizations, and broader societal systems.

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