Take Risks and Reach Out | Mindset & Agility – The Rocket Fuel for Customer Experience Success

This is the next to the last post in a series titled “Mindset & Agility – The Rocket Fuel for Customer Experience Success.”

In my last post, I started unpacking skills outlined in Professor W. Warner Burke’s research-based model of learning agility. As you’ll recall, Dr. Burke shared his findings in a book titled Learning Agility, which showed how learning nimbleness fuels leadership potential.

As a refresher, according to Dr. Burke, learning agility requires nine skills:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Speed
  3. Experimenting
  4. Performance Risk
  5. Interpersonal Risk Taking
  6. Collaborating
  7. Information Gathering
  8. Feedback Seeking
  9. Reflecting

Since we covered the first three skills in our last installment, let’s dive into the middle three and round out this series next week with Dr. Burke’s final three learning agility skills.

According to Dr. Burke:

Performance Risk Taking reflects the degree to which an individual proactively pursues new activities (roles, tasks, or assignments) to stretch and grow. From a customer experience perspective, a person might volunteer to be on a team that develops experience training tools – given that they never created training resources before.

Interpersonal Risk Taking involves vulnerably sharing beliefs, feelings, and diverse life experiences to stimulate learning and change. Honest and candid discussions about differences foster diversity and empathic cultures.

Collaborating skills include actively seeking alliances – well beyond traditional work teams. Reaching out to those you don’t know well can help generate unique product and service solutions.

Across these three skills, Dr. Burke shows how risk-taking has activity and disclosure-based elements. In other words, risk can come in the form of stretch opportunities or interpersonal sharing. In all cases, we need to proactively leave our comfort zones to grow and spark innovation. Volunteering for a new assignment, increasing appropriate, personal disclosure, and reaching out to others for collaboration, all require a courageous stretch.

Inspired by Dr. Burke, here are this week’s challenge suggestions:

  • Evaluate activities this week based on whether you should keep the status quo or stretch. Stop one pattern & take a new approach.
  • Reach out to someone you’d like to know better. In the conversation, explore how they might help you grow or what you might accomplish together.
  • Think of a project or task that would force you to grow. How would you approach “volunteering” for the new possibility?

In my latest book Stronger Through Adversity, I feature more than 140 learning agile leaders who’ve positioned their companies for world-class experience delivery during and after the pandemic.

Until next time, may you take interpersonal and performance risks to create customer solutions and organizational growth.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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