So I decided that I’d write a blog post to celebrate the relaunch of The Agile Contact Centre and started to whiteboard some ideas. Plenty of stories came to mind about how I have used lean, agile and systems thinking and my experiences implementing these in the contact centres I have lead. Then I thought, the internet really needs more stories about kittens and this is sure to get peoples attention!
A few years ago I fostered some kittens and here’s what they taught me about taking risks and being a brave leader.
Lesson 1 - Be inquisitive
Kittens are born with their wild instincts intact and unless they are socialised with humans very early in their lives they will literally ‘go feral’.
These instincts make them very wary and timid but you can see them being pulled in very opposite directions by their famous curiosity.
Their wariness keeps them safe from perceived danger however it’s their hard-wired curiosity that helps them to face their fears - they can’t help but be inquisitive about what’s going on around them and this helps them push their boundaries.
You probably do most things the way you’ve always done them or the way you have always seen them done. I know I did, untiI I came across agile and started to put some simple tools in place in my contact centres like visualising the work and holding daily stand ups.
Lesson 2 – Being vulnerable is inspiring
Being vulnerable is uncomfortable but if you do it right it will inspire others.
I created some obstacles for the kittens so they could stretch themselves but not to the extent they could seriously get hurt – this environment meant that they had the chance to be experience a few tumbles and in doing so they realised the world wasn’t as scary as they thought. I found that it took just one of them to lead the way, fall off the top of the wardrobe, dust themselves off and the others would follow.
This plays out everyday at work, we don’t ask the question in our head for fear of looking foolish or that half formed idea that never gets onto the table because you worried about what others will think. We’ve all held something back.
How liberating would it be if we all just took a chance to be vulnerable, share an idea, voice your opinion and you’ll learn what the kittens know, it just takes one brave soul to lead the way and others will follow.
Lesson 3 – Be brave over being confident
There is a fallicy that you need to have confidence. Confidence is valued as being important in making decisions and we look to achieve a high level of confidence before we commit even to the extent that we feel the need to sound or look confident to validate ourselves. All completely normal behaviour, but flawed.
What I’ve learnt (and I think this is the most important lesson) is that bravery is more important than confidence; if you wait for confidence before you act it may never come in time and the moment will pass you by.
I have put off making the decision to start my own business for years. I didn’t feel confident to back myself that I had what it takes to build something that customers will see value in. Am I confident it will work out? not entirely, but I’m determined to learn from everything I do and the amazing team around me, take chances and continue to put it all into practise until it works.
So here I am, ready to jump off the wardrobe. I’m really excited to be partnering with Eduardo and his team to dust off The Agile Contact Centre brand and start a movement that I feel very passionately about, to reinvent the contact centre world and make work better so teams can deliver greater value to customers.
I’m not suggesting everyone start their own business but I bet that you could find one idea tomorrow that would help your contact centres teams remove a wasteful process so they could improve the way customers get value. Get a small group together and ask them one question, what calls/emails/chats do we get that we shouldn’t? Then be a brave leader and champion the cause to fix it across your organisation and remove the obstacles for your team to fix it.
If you’d like to chat about how we can help you reinvent your contact centre, give Sean a call on 0467 711 674 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.