I think a lot of people are thinking about the current set of AI tools wrong. They are wrong that AI will eliminate jobs or that employment will be radically reduced. I think people focus on these narratives because, well, that’s what journalists like to write about, ultimately those stories get more clicks than “AI helps creative workers save time and do more impressive work.”

Maybe that turns out to be true and I am wrong but I’m not sure how to model that anyway. Most of us are still going about our days in the same way and still have jobs to do.

So how can you take advantage of tools like ChatGPT and Bard today?

I think the most obvious way is to generate new ideas.

To demonstrate this, I asked Bard, Google’s AI chat tool, the following question: “What are three ways someone might use a tool like Bard that would help them work like a strategy consultant?”

Here is what it said

Here are three ways someone might use a tool like Bard to help them work like a strategy consultant:

  1. Gathering and analyzing information. Bard can be used to quickly and efficiently gather information from a variety of sources, including news articles, research papers, and social media. This information can then be analyzed to identify trends, patterns, and insights that would be helpful to a strategy consultant.
  2. Generating ideas. Bard can be used to generate creative ideas for new products, services, and business models. This can be helpful for strategy consultants who are looking to help their clients innovate and stay ahead of the competition.
  3. Communicating complex ideas. Bard can be used to communicate complex ideas in a clear and concise way. This can be helpful for strategy consultants who are trying to explain their recommendations to clients or stakeholders.

Being in the flow of ideas is one of the underrated benefits of working in consulting. You are bombarded with ideas, thoughts about ideas, and feedback about ideas continuously. Compared to corporate environments it always felt like the flow of ideas was exponentially higher.

But it still required work. One of the ways I would generate new ideas is to make additional slides. With a chat AI app, however, you can just ask it for ideas!

Some other potential uses

#1 You can ask it for alternatives:

Example Prompt: “Here is a title I created for a PowerPoint slide, can you generate three alternative options?”

#2 You can ask it for specific improvements:

Prompt: “Can you simplify the following to be clearer and more concise: “Our division was very successful this quarter, we had very good performance and beat the competition by 2% in revenue”

It generated three options:

  1. Our division outperformed the competition by 2% in revenue this quarter.
  2. Our division had a successful quarter, beating the competition by 2% in revenue.
  3. Our division exceeded expectations this quarter, generating 2% more revenue than the competition.

Not bad! They’re not perfect either but the power of this is that new options enable you to see different ways of explaining the same thing.

#3 Finally, you can mentally prepare for potential responses (this is the most fun)

Prompt: Ok pretend you are a CEO and I am a consultant that’s been working on a project for your company. You hired me and my team to cut 10% costs. Our conclusion is that we will be able to do it but it will involve laying off more people than you expected. Can you give me three potential responses from friendly to very angry so that I can prepare for a potential meeting with you?

Bard’s Reply:

Sure, here are three potential responses from friendly to very angry that you might receive from a CEO if you tell them that you need to lay off more people than they expected in order to cut 10% costs:

Friendly: “I understand that this is a difficult decision, and I appreciate your honesty. I’m sure you’ve done everything you can to avoid layoffs, and I appreciate your efforts. I’ll need some time to process this information, but I’ll be in touch soon.”

Neutral: “I’m disappointed to hear that layoffs are necessary. I know this will be a difficult time for our employees, and I want to make sure we do everything we can to support them through this transition. I’ll need to review your plan in more detail, but I’m committed to making sure we make the best decision for our company.”

Angry: “I’m furious that you’re asking me to lay off more people than I expected. This is a terrible decision that will have a devastating impact on our employees and our company culture. I need you to come back to me with a better plan.”

It’s important to be prepared for any of these reactions and to have a clear and concise plan for how you will handle layoffs. You should also be prepared to answer questions about why layoffs are necessary, and what steps you will take to support employees who are affected.

It feels kind of silly to read these, but I can imagine this being useful in a team that is preparing for a very negative reaction from another stakeholder. This might help you prepare for a negative reaction from a manager by more easily letting you practice going through the experience beforehand.

There are so many more potential uses but if you’re not at least playing around with it, I think you are missing out.

Do you have a toolkit for business problem solving? I created Think Like a Strategy Consultant as an online course to make the tools of strategy consultants accessible to driven professionals, executives, and consultants. This course teaches you how to synthesize information into compelling insights, structure your information in ways that help you solve problems, and develop presentations that resonate at the C-Level. Click here to learn more or if you are interested in getting started now, enroll in the self-paced version ($497) or hands-on coaching version ($997). Both versions include lifetime access and all future updates.