Interesting new research from Microsoft, conducted by Altimeter Group and the University of St. Gallen, examined the relationship between AI and successful leadership. The results provide useful insights supporting organisations on their AI journey.

The study, based on research involving 800 business leaders across seven European countries and the United States,identified significant differences between high and low growth companies in their use of AI.

Leaders in high growth companies* are twice as likely to be actively using AI compared to lower growth companies. They also have bigger plans to invest in AI over a much shorter timeframe.

*High growth companies were defined as companies experiencing double digit organic revenue growth.

Key Research Findings

Leaders of high growth companies feel a sense of urgency to use more AI to drive efficiencies and growth:

  • 93% of high growth companies intend to invest in decision-making AI within 1-3 years, with 53% doing so within the next 12 months, compared to 33% for lower growth companies.
  • 64% of lower growth companies intend to invest in decision-making AI within 3-5 years.

As AI becomes more widely used, leaders will invest more time in:

  • Motivating and inspiring employees.
  • Identifying new market opportunities.
  • Setting the right goals.

Leaders would like support to change their skill emphasis to be better prepared for the AI age:

  • 76% of leaders from high growth companies would like support, 67% of lower growth leaders.

Decision makers believe AI will have a positive impact on leadership:

  • 66% of high growth leaders say that AI will have a positive impact on leadership. 8% state that there has already been a positive impact.
  • 64% of lower growth company leaders expect the same, with 3% saying AI has already had a positive impact.

The top three areas where high growth companies expect to use more AI in the coming year are:

  • Decision-making: 53% (33% for lower growth).
  • Optimising processes: 43% (34% for lower growth).
  • Developing new products and services: 28% (27% for lower growth).

Key challenges that leaders see related to AI:

  • Adapting rapidly to new and changing market environments (47%).
  • Promoting a culture for humans to thrive off AI (41%).
  • Developing ideas for how AI can help add value to customer solutions (40%).

Microsoft’s AI Business School

To support leaders in shaping a strategy for AI, instill the behaviors and capabilities required for an AI-ready culture, Microsoft has launched an AI Business School aimed at empowering business leaders to lead with confidence in an AI world.

Please see the video below for more details.

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The Microsoft AI research can be found here – Leaders look to embrace AI