Be brave...like a kitten

So I decided to write a blog 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 across the operations teams I have lead. Then I thought, the internet really needs more cat content and this is sure to get people's attention!

I’d like to share the lessons I learnt after an experience fostering a group of kittens and here’s what they taught me about taking risks and being a brave leader.

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Lesson 1 - Be inquisitive by nature

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 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 while working with IT projects. I decided to give this a crack with my Ops teams some simple tools like retros and stand ups made a noticeable difference to how we organised work and reflected on our wins and losses.

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 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 fallacy that you need to have confidence. Confidence is valued as being important in making decisions and we try 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 build 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 practice. If it works I’ll be thrilled but if it doesn’t I’ll know I will have learnt some really valuable lessons. 

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/tasks do we get that we shouldn’t? Then be brave and empower your teams to fix the root cause no matter where it is across your organisation.

If you’d like to chat about how we can help you reinvent your contact centre, call us on 1300 524 457 or email us at info@theagilecontactcentre.com.au