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Building AI Brain Trust: What Leadership Skills Are Needed To Accelerate AI Adoption?

Nastel Technologies®
November 3, 2020
Comments: 1

AI is advancing in visibility but the last mile of realizing AI sustaining adoption in large enterprises, with demonstrated results, is lagging.


Recently I had a lengthy conversation with Howard Pezim, a Managing Partner of The Bedford Group, an executive recruiting firm, and Cathy Cobey, Global Head of Trusted AI from EY, regarding the lack of trust and, even fear, that board directors and senior executives have in advancing AI in their organizations. The research on leadership is AI continues to reinforce the confidence and sustaining investment gaps in advancing AI from pilot and ideation phases to sustaining production phases (i.e. strong governance and inventory management /and machine learning operating practices , etc.)


We came to the conclusion that to unlock the last mile of AI that board directors and CEOs must accelerate building a unified brain trust (a unified set of leadership skills hardwired in relevant digital and AI skills) to modernize their organizations.


After I left the meeting with Howard and Cathy, it became increasingly apparent that newer leadership skill frameworks were missing key skills in AI, well beyond general digital literacy or future leadership skills. So when you think about it, we should not be too surprised that board directors and CEO’s are lagging in the adoption of AI as investments in increasing the collective brain trust at the most senior levels have not been trained in the language of AI, and are in many areas still struggling to achieve basic or advanced digital literacy competency levels. AI can seem like another steep mountain to climb when so many fundamentals are needed in areas like data management and even sourcing unified data dictionaries are often in disarray in many large multi-nationals, exacerbating the data wrangling efforts needed for solving complex AI use cases.


Do you remember the long debates that were held twenty years ago as to whether eCommerce and online payments would be used in retail? and, more explicitly, would consumers switch to online due to the promise of a more convenient purchasing experience. In the early days of eCommerce, like in every form of emerging technology, we typically have few early adopters embracing and understanding the impacts that disruptive technology experiences will have. Many board directors and CEO’s did not understand what eCommerce, or smart wallets meant nor had any visceral knowledge and learning experiences directly from which are so key for adults to learn from.


Clearly it’s almost inconceivable to think anyone questioned the value of eCommerce and online payments – but the majority of leaders did. Humans simply have a hard time seeing the future until it is often far more pervasive and they can experience it.


The reality today is there are AI algorithms in almost everything but that does not mean that the AI is being used efficiently or effectively? Hence the imperative to get the knowledge domains and practices right and avoid in the future running AI Algo’s that are mathematically or bias flawed.


To help close this knowledge gap, this blog identifies forty AI Brain Trust leadership skills needed to ensure leadership skills and competencies are enhanced to advance in a smarter world – AI enabled world. The new world is increasingly full of noise, distractions, contradictions, diverse approaches; so “Focus Management” will become an acutely important leadership skill to filter wisely to lead in world where constant change persists and never pauses.


Take stock of the forty leadership skills listed below to reflect on where your leadership skills stock up. This list is a mix of strategic, business, technical, and emotional intelligence /social skills that are under research validation from leading academic frameworks, balanced with practical experience as a CEO, and former large enterprise executive in diverse industries and experiences, including financial services, communications and high tech, professional services and logistics and transportation.


Strategic Skills:

  1. Vision and Strategic Orientation
  2. Customer Centricity Focus
  3. Channel /Partner Relationship Management
  4. Innovation Maker (Incremental and Breakthrough)
  5. Talent Builder (Attract, Develop, Retain)
  6. Governance and Cross Functional Stewardship
  7. Strategic Process Value Chains
  8. Financial Value Realization
  9. Strategic Transformation Management Maker
  10. Focus Management (Prioritization Rigour in the Age of Distraction).


Business Skills:

  1. Customer Orientation
  2. Problem Solving Orientation
  3. Analytical and Research Rigour
  4. Communication /Channel Relevance (social, written, voice, etc.)
  5. Ethical Robustness (Transparency, Trust, Privacy)
  6. Program and Project Management
  7. Process & Data Management Orientation
  8. Measurement – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  9. Finance and Business
  10. Sustainability Robustness (Environment, Human and Societal Well Being)


Emotional Intelligence /Social Skills

  1. Curiosity to Explore (Experiment)
  2. Listening to Diverse Opinions and Suspending Judgement
  3. Openness and Collaborative Team Orientation
  4. Inclusiveness, Diversity Empathy and Kindness
  5. Coaching and Consultative Orientation
  6. Flexibility to Work under Changing Conditions and Contradictions
  7. Adaptability & Resilience
  8. Immersive Learning (Learning and Re-Learning)
  9. Reflection and Renewal
  10. Health and Wellness


Technical Skills:

  1. Research Methods Literacy
  2. Agile Methods Literacy
  3. User Centric Design Literacy
  4. Data Analytics Literacy
  5. Digital Literacy (Cloud, SaaS, Computers, etc.)
  6. Mathematics Literacy
  7. Statistics Literacy
  8. Sciences (Computing Science, Complexity Science, Physics) Literacy
  9. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) Literacy
  10. Sustainability Literacy


This article originally appeared on To read the full article and see the images, click here.


Nastel Technologies is the global leader in Integration Infrastructure Management (i2M). It helps companies achieve flawless delivery of digital services powered by integration infrastructure by delivering tools for Middleware Management, Monitoring, Tracking, and Analytics to detect anomalies, accelerate decisions, and enable customers to constantly innovate, to answer business-centric questions, and provide actionable guidance for decision-makers. It is particularly focused on IBM MQ, Apache Kafka, Solace, TIBCO EMS, ACE/IIB and also supports RabbitMQ, ActiveMQ, Blockchain, IOT, DataPower, MFT, IBM Cloud Pak for Integration and many more.


The Nastel i2M Platform provides:


  • liana
    August 3, 2022
    thanks for info
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