Unlocking AI Leadership: Brent Duffy of Maximus offers insights for leaders into embracing AI’s potential, fostering curiosity, pausing for perspective and driving ethical AI transformation.

If you are a CEO or business founder, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has no doubt been one of the KPIs on your scorecard for a while. However, what is brand new right now is the pace at which this transformative influence is progressing. Within an era of rapid advancement, leaders the world over find themselves responsible for embracing AI’s potential and guiding their organisation through ongoing change.

“This will demand far more from leaders than getting familiar with tools like ChatGPT or improving customer service bots. It’s about a mindset of accepting that AI is here to stay. Yes, it can help us lead teams and manage day-to-day tasks – but, crucially there’s far more to understand and leverage than just that,” believes Brent Duffy, Joint Managing Director at Maximus.

“Those of us running organisations have a duty to ensure we don’t get left behind but rather remain focused on the next wave of digital disruption to corner commercial advantage. Experts are predicting that the rise of AI is the next wave,” adds Brent.

What follows is Brent’s advice for those at the forefront of shaping how this influence can help define their organisation’s success.

Stay curious

“Curiosity is a superpower in leadership. We don’t have to have all the answers; but we should be asking all the right questions. AI is the perfect opportunity for this approach,” believes Brent.

During the lockdowns experienced during 2020-2021, geographically isolated Australian leaders found themselves at risk of having ‘blinkers on’ and becoming insular in our thinking. To counteract this, Maximus took the opportunity to leverage virtual platforms to bring online executive study tours to our clients and leaders across the country. During the peak of the Covid pandemic, we worked with partner organisations like the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Singularity University to bring hundreds of global leaders in the AI field to Australia. The outcome was deeply curious Australian leaders who took inspiration from around the world. This is AI-led leadership in action.


As the AI landscape unfolds, it will require leaders who harness the power of emerging tools through cultivating a deep understanding around possibilities. 


Pause to gain perspective

“When we’re caught in a cycle of ‘ready’ (noticing) and ‘go’ (reacting) – of adrenalin and immediate consequences – we’re neglecting the opportunity to think through second and third order consequences. Perspective takes time; and isn’t developed by shifting between ‘ready’ and ‘go’; but by taking time to pause and think. AI is a pause and think opportunity,” explains Brent.

Imagine if Kodak had recognised the rise of digital imagery as the ‘new normal’? They might have become like Zoom – a runaway success story that remained the dominant online communications platform during the pandemic that upended legacy companies thanks to competitive pricing and user-friendly access.

There is no one answer or ‘one size fits all’ approach to AI.  Leaders must set and consider all perspectives for individuals, teams, their business and customers.

Consider the benefits of mentoring

“For every dollar spent on procuring new technology; companies are spending double that on embedding it. The people impacts of AI – including change management and training – shouldn’t be underestimated,” says Brent.

Now is a great time to consider reverse mentoring. In today’s digital environment, there is a lot we can learn from digital natives. Companies wanting to remain at the cutting edge are tapping into the idea that ‘reverse mentoring’ can yield incredible results.

Likewise, there are numerous bright spots of small experiments with generative AI and robotics in every field – from medical care to financial services. A leader’s role is to shine a light on them.


Revisit your ethics

“A myriad of new scenarios has necessitated a myriad of new thinking and approaches,” believes Brent.

Leaders face ethical challenges including a lack of transparency around the use AI tools. We also know AI is not ‘neutral’. AI-based decisions are susceptible to inaccuracies, discriminatory outcomes and embedded or inserted bias. In addition, surveillance practices for data gathering and privacy concerns remain an important focus.

This has seen companies globally revisiting their ethical policies in light of emerging technology and risks, including associated codes of conduct around how and where we use AI-powered apps such as ChatGPT, Motion or OpenAI.

AI is also impacting codes of conduct, especially around customer data. Reputational risk due to cyber breach is now amongst the top three risks for most entities and can have a potential impact on customer retention, loyalty and share price.

“AI is here to stay and leaders will have to chart new waters when it comes to creating and implementing AI-related ‘codes of conduct’ all while leading by example,” says Brent.

As the AI landscape unfolds, it will require leaders who harness the power of emerging tools through cultivating a deep understanding around possibilities. Their ability to set the agenda when it comes to the use of AI; and ensure that use is a force for good will help forge an exciting, AI-powered future.

If you are looking to unlock AI leadership in your business, get in touch via





A talent-multiplier driving uncompromising outcomes, Brent has been the go-to trusted advisor for some of Australia’s most impactful leaders for the past two decades. With an uncompromising focus on quality, progress and accountability, Brent has a reputation for delivering outcomes and identifying where true opportunity lies.



  • AI
  • Ceo
  • Ethics
  • Future of Work
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • mentoring

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