Luxury Institute and EIX: Artificial Intelligence Demands Emergence of “Platinum Collar Worker”
NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – January 09, 2018) – Artificial intelligence is the big buzzword now. Academic studies trumpet that A.I. will replace humans in the workplace at unprecedented rates, while seemingly every start-up and legacy brand touts A.I. to describe its business, hoping to make what it does sound compelling and unique. Artificial intelligence, however, is not quite as intelligent as it has been claimed to be. A.I. will dramatically improve the lives of humans, if implemented ethically, but reports in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other reputable media have documented that A.I. can be biased, sexist, racist, inexplicable, wrong, and, just plain stupid.
Neural networks are as “intelligent” as the historical data and human-imposed-rules upon which they train. Leading scientists prefer the term “machine learning” to describe the highly imperfect, human-directed process through which algorithms process massive amounts of data to identify patterns that lead to potentially useful output. Credible scientists recognize that even for rote tasks such as accounting, legal research, asset allocation, disease diagnosis, call center work, and other repetitive mental and physical work, the presence of humans remains critical in ensuring that the applications of artificial intelligence are sensible and effective.
Workers across all industries and levels of responsibility must rewire their brains to guide and to work alongside A.I. systems, and what will be most needed are the complementary humanistic skills that were ignored or extinguished by robotic education and oppressive cultures within command-and-control style organizations. Google the term “Silicon Valley culture” and you will find that most of Silicon Valley’s top brands, even today, operate within top-down, rigid, regimented cultures that suppress the vast humanistic and creative potential of the human brain.
Despite challenges, there is good reason for tremendous optimism that A.I will fuel a corresponding revolution in the understanding of mind and brain development. The replacement of robotic work requires a not-yet-understood, often unrecognized, rapidly emerging need for a humanistic, enlightened, high-performance worker who transcends gender, organizational type, or corporate hierarchy. Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, terms this new kind of employee the “platinum collar worker” (PCW).
Like the precious metal, platinum collar workers are catalytic. They help create and accelerate the conditions for humanistic high performance within their companies, while remaining pure in ethics, and purpose. They maintain their integrity, while being open-minded and highly adaptable, which makes them very easy to work with. Like platinum, called the noble metal because it resists toxicity, platinum collar workers are the noble workers of any organization in the twenty-first century. They often thrive, despite a toxic culture. Over time, however, they will abandon sub-human corporate cultures in droves, and overwhelmingly will choose to work for a growing body of proven, socially responsible companies that disavow pure greed in favor of nurturing all players in their ecosystem. Like their namesake, platinum collar workers will be the highest-valued and most highly-compensated workers of the twenty-first century, working synergistically alongside A.I. with, and for, peers, clients, partners and society, to achieve worthwhile goals. Hiring, developing, and retaining teams of platinum collar workers will be the most critical factor of success in any organization.
“Up to now, our institutions have focused on teaching humans to behave like robots. Now, with the advent of Artificial Intelligence, our best minds are focused on teaching robots to behave like humans. Yet, the critical task now is to ignite an Emotional Intelligence Revolution, to teach humans to behave like good humans.”
How do you recognize a platinum collar worker, or for that matter, a platinum collar team? You find them succeeding brilliantly in situations where competitors are continuously failing. In retail today, traffic is down and consumer purchasing power, tastes and habits have all changed. It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s retail hell out there, yet even in this harsh terrain, Pedraza, the founder of the new EIX (Emotional Intelligence Xpert) skills-building tech platform, knows at least one platinum collar head of retail who is thriving. Instead of complaining, about high competition, low traffic, sub-optimal locations, high rents, and less inventory, she inspires and develops her people, drives high-performance employee and client relationship building, and exceeds her online and offline business targets. You witness platinum collar work at its best when the environment suggests that progress at a company should have stopped dead in its tracks, but an individual or a team manages to succeed ethically, with integrity, and beyond all rational explanation.
Contrast that level of adaptation with large numbers of white and blue-collar workers at all levels of organizations who face disruption yet continue to rely on expired experience, fear change, and place their fragile egos ahead of what’s best for business. Their dated mindsets interpret their behaviors as successful when it is obvious from the KPIs that they are failing at their craft. Some will violate their own morals and values in a futile attempt to get results. Pedraza and his team have witnessed this firsthand, as executives have destroyed creativity and innovation, and work diligently to reverse measurable progress simply because it doesn’t fit their mental models. These are decent, good and well-intentioned people, but they are simply unaware how their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, make them unable to connect with others to achieve results. Impotent to respond appropriately to threats and opportunities, they never allow the facts to get in the way of a good excuse story. Failure seems to be the only area in which they make tremendous progress.
Learned traits of platinum collar workers have tremendous value for individuals looking to improve career prospects, and companies aiming to prepare their workforces to face the challenges ahead. Having trained thousands of business executives and front-line associates, across many goods and services categories globally, Pedraza and his team have identified these seven most common behaviors of platinum collar workers, across all levels of workers, in all industries. Here they are below:
1: Live On Purpose
Platinum Collar Workers live their life with purpose, first by identifying their core values and what gives their life true meaning. Their mantra: ‘Life is missionary, not mercenary.” It starts with committing to doing no harm, focusing on doing good, much like the Hippocratic oath that doctors take. From there, PCWs meticulously figure out what anchors them to humanity so they can always tell if their actions are “on purpose” or off, and do what’s needed to get back on course. They continuously monitor their emotions and thoughts, and purposefully direct behaviors to ensure they are aligned with their identity and their ethical best selves in whatever they do. They live with integrity, even if the short-term price is very high, because they know the long-term pay-off of living your good morals and values is even higher in emotional and economic terms.
2: Embrace Humility
Recognizing fully and fearlessly, how highly imperfect they are, PCWs are not threatened by their flaws or mistakes. They understand that fragile egos tend to blame others for failure, fail to take responsibility (the ability to respond appropriately), and scuttle continuous learning and improvement. Instead PCWs exhibit a high growth-mindset that fosters confronting the reality of their environment and their performance with objective self-compassion and adapt quickly to achieve their purpose. Even when they achieve greatness, they keep natural narcissistic tendencies in check, and they are happy to give credit to good fortune, and to others, knowing that no man or woman succeeds alone. They exhibit none of the false modesty that is so popular in social media. They are confident, not in their greatness, but in their ability to learn how to learn (a rare skill), transform great mental states into mental traits, adapt, and become skillful in navigating the personal and work challenges that life brings.
3: Conquer Fear
Neuroscience has chronicled how humans are wired to avoid threats first, and secondarily seek rewards and pleasure. Humans dramatically overstate threats and undervalue opportunities. That mindset worked well in the early stages of human development because it guaranteed physical survival. Today, deeply insecure workers who continue to operate from fear states become predators, or prey, and render themselves inefficient and ineffective. Instead, PCWs wire themselves to confidently dominate their irrational fears, using fear as a tool to energize them in similar ways that extreme athletes use fear of free climbing, or free jumping, to get into excited and positive states of mind. PCWs understand that the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, and the fear of change can all do far more harm than good, especially in the relatively safe world of work. They prefer to risk trying to create value for others and themselves ethically, and fail, even if they lose their job, as long as they maintain their human identity and integrity. Paradoxically, this approach dramatically improves the probability that they will achieve far more success, far more often, while creating the conditions for far more future success.
4: Build Emotional Intelligence
PCWs know they must continuously develop the skills of connecting emotionally with others to create positive results. They focus on the four pillars of E.I. that Milton Pedraza, working with psychology experts, has identified through empirical research. The four pillars make up 20% of the traits that account for 90% of being effective at achieving goals in human engagement: expertise, deep empathy, trustworthiness and generosity. Inject these four elements ethically and creatively into business and personal interactions consistently and you will dramatically increase the probability of achieving positive results. PCWs work to build deep expertise in their work, knowing that all the positive psychology in the world will not make up for the failure to become a superbly skilled expert at their chosen profession. They also get that without consistently expressing deep empathy, trustworthiness and generosity, being a top-tier professional expert is insufficient. They see themselves as “elite mental athletes” and use daily learning, accelerated practice, measurement of emotional and behavioral KPIs, and coaching to master the four skills of E.I. that lead to long-term relationship building in their professional and personal lives.
5: Practice Mindfulness and Deep Focus
Mindfulness is a popular topic in business today. In a world full of fake news, distractions and interruptions driven by digital devices and overcrowded spaces, the ability to focus at work and play is hampered continuously. The science states that when you are mindful, you are in a state of active and focused attention. You are living in the moment, and gently aware of your emotions and thoughts without judgment. PCWs are well informed and use simple meditation techniques to improve their ability to focus and block out the noise at work to focus on the signal. However, PCWs go one critical step further. Once they decide what is important to focus on, they practice and master the skill of diving into a state beyond directed attention, into deep focus. In order to achieve peak performance states known as “flow,” this step requires full concentration, where the length, depth, and quality of focus matter as much as the object of your focus. Flow states are the mental states that top achievers in every profession master to achieve greatness. Deep focus is the gateway.
6: Dedicate to Self-Mastery
PCWs are fully dedicated to the critical steps of self-mastery in order to confront the reality of their performance and adapt immediately without drama, fear or angst. They practice and master the virtuous cycle of self-awareness, self-measurement, self-assessment, self-coaching and self-correction. Their self-mastery mantra is, “Take full responsibility for both controllable and non-controllable events,” knowing that by choosing to respond elegantly even to what they can’t control, they activate the power to produce far greater results than the taker and the victim mindsets of many of their colleagues. While they rely on expert coaches for periodic feedback and instruction, PCWs get that life is a do-it-yourself project, and use the self-mastery virtuous cycle to continuously self-audit to direct and conquer their own minds.
7: Play Creatively and Innovatively
People often confuse creativity and innovation. PCWs are very clear on their meanings and strive to achieve both. Creativity is the playful generation of new, novel ideas by individuals or teams. Creative ideas are original and unique, although they are not always brought to reality, or useful. Innovation is the skill of taking new ideas and implementing them into solutions that help others, and scaling them through teamwork. PCWs train themselves to be imaginative, open-minded, and connect dots where others don’t see connections. While they can be creative with only their imagination and enjoy the process of daydreaming and brainstorming, PCWs are totally deliberate about bringing their ideas into practical solutions that add value. They know that creativity and innovations are hard-core skills, not genetic gifts. They strive to master their professional domains first, knowing that real creativity and innovation are achieved only through first building a body of core expertise, the way that great musicians absorb the beautiful structure of the classics through practice, and, only afterwards can they use those skills to create original pieces with masterful results. For PCWs, the joy of a playful creativity and innovation journey rises above any financial gain they might derive from breakthrough solutions. Paradoxically, this leads to long-term economic gains.
Many believe that great humanistic achievement is an inherited trait, or due to luck. Both factors do play a role in success, but the biggest factor is the deliberate focus and effort that an individual invests consciously in developing the skills required for building the expertise and relationships that personal evolution and progress require. Artificial intelligence will eliminate drudgery work, and will free up precious time to focus human energy on building the ethical skills of a platinum collar worker.
Platinum Collar Workers are emerging as an absolute necessary condition for A.I. to thrive. The world cannot afford to have only a few of these precious human beings. Education and business have the responsibility to develop the majority of human beings into platinum collar workers.
Enlightened business leaders are beginning to recognize this critical need. “Up to now, our institutions have focused on teaching humans to behave like robots. Now, with the advent of Artificial Intelligence, our best minds are focused on teaching robots to behave like humans. Yet, the critical task now is to ignite an Emotional Intelligence Revolution, to teach humans to behave like good humans. The EIX platform unleashes the power of technology to teach humans to build deep relationship skills and work in harmony with other humans, to build a much better world for all,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute and the new EI-Xpert technology platform.
This paper was co-authored by Milton Pedraza, Luxury Institute CEO, and Alyssa Reppenhagen, a senior retail executive based in New York. For more information and additional insights visit www.LuxuryInstitute.com, or contact Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza directly with questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).