AI and team relationships – a realistic view

AI can help business team relationships but it’s no panacea

Sylvia de Sienes – Aprais.

AI team relationships

On Monday morning, one of my colleagues announced: “I had a chat with an AI yesterday for a few hours, I asked about all sorts of things – even relationships – it was great!”

She’s not the only AI advocate. Just last week, a British driver used AI to get his parking fine at Gatwick Airport cut from £100 to £15.

Deloitte UK compares its effects on business to the industrial revolution. In this article, the company’s chief AI officer says: ‘AI will scale our cognitive abilities, enhancing healthcare, transport, education, customer-centric experiences – it will have a profound impact on human efforts.’

And according to a PWC survey of 775 US business leaders, a full 84% say implementing AI ‘at scale’ is necessary for success over the next three years, and 70% say these efforts are designed to strengthen competitive positions for the long-term.

Meanwhile, Forbes reports that the worldwide market for enterprise applications for AI is estimated to reach $107.3bn by 2025.

Is there anything AI can’t do?

And more specifically, can AI help build and improve business team relationships? Having put this to the test, the answer is both yes, and no.

The major issue is that AI can’t capture and understand the nuance of human emotion. Consider this statement:

“Both Real Madrid and Barcelona are highly successful and competitive teams with rich histories and legacies in football. The debate over which team is better is a matter of personal preference and can vary depending on individual perspectives, team performance, and achievements”

It’s safe to say, there’s a lack of human passion.

And then there is the charisma, or lack of. AI can learn to give certain charismatic replies but lacks the charisma some humans have, it cannot provoke the emotions certain individuals do.

A role for AI?

Nonetheless, there’s plenty AI can do when it comes to team relationship building.

It understands the fundamentals of relationships, it is quite satisfying to see AI has similar views to ourselves at Aprais when it comes to behaviours like Trust or Communication. Analysis of our extensive database identified seven key behaviours that help define what sets the best teams apart from the rest, help build strong relationships and produce good work. Trust and Communication are both in the top 3 when it comes to agencies scoring the top 10% performing clients

It can help identify patterns in the data as it learns from previous data and will be able to take into account more and more variables.

It can provide many theories so we can discard them, test them and  put them into practice.  

AI can help us find out what is wrong, we can then find the why and work together with our clients to adjust it.

The “why” can be:

  • in the industry
  • the brand’s heritage
  • the social context
  • culture/geography
  • or even in the emotions one single individual.

At Aprais we put our knowledge and experience into finding out possible whys. We count on more than 25,000 evaluations we have conducted over 20 years, to extract knowledge, apply our emotional intelligence and go beyond the numbers. Here a few examples.

The nuances of business relationships

Within Mediterranean countries the words don’t always “match the music”. Scores tend to be high but frustration comes through in the commentary. Asia’s client scores tend to be higher than in other countries as brands carry a lot of weight socially. Expectations for first time evaluations in the US are higher (round 1 US national average above all Aprais benchmark), because achievements, at academic, social and professional levels carry a lot of weight. But expectations are also high.

In one case, a score for a relationship we evaluated plummeted suddenly. Until that time, this relationship had been a strong and professional and there was nothing in the commentary to explain the decrease. We meticulously analysed the scores and realised there was one participant who had given exceptionally low scores. Further investigation revealed the participant was distressed for personal reasons the day they filled in the evaluation for that relationship.

A well-known and long-established brand went through a transformation of their image due mainly to social and PR pressure. Once the brand was transformed, a new agency – renowned both for its award winning socially relevant campaigns and its multicultural team – was hired. Scores should have been high, as both sides were in theory in the honeymoon stage and should be pushing for great work. After many conversations, we found out the agency had no budget and was never briefed, so they believed they may have been hired because of who they were rather than what they were capable of doing.

It’s valuable to have help to unearth what the issues are behind the relationships. It takes a lot of conversations and human interaction to find out the whys, but that is what we are all about at Aprais, building stronger relationships.

About the author

Sylvia de Sienes is an International Client Manager at Aprais. In her 20+ year career, Sylvia has worked in client service roles at a number of creative agencies including Ogilvy and Y&R on leading international brands like Ford and Vodafone.