It has been almost four years since I last spoke to my friend B.B. I reached out to him a few weeks ago and we finally touched base last week. He has an interesting job as the University Director of a large Telecommunications company. I walked him through what I am currently doing as well. He unselfishly asked me to send him an email about the different services/products we provide. He is happy to forward the email to the right person within his company.
B.B. also walked me through his companies approach to leadership learning and development. Their primary focus is Leadership development and leadership wellness. Leaders cannot give what they don’t have. The current focus is their ‘Inventiveness’ competency.
Inventiveness, as he defines it, is a leaders ability to get their teams to come-up with solutions to todays challenges using whatever resource they have in hand. However, as they ran these program across the company the result was not very promising. Leaders where not able to raise the level of inventiveness of their respective functions. The company then had a foreign consulting firm design and run a survey to get to the root of the problem.
The results finally came out after a short time and they found it strange that their creative abilities or inventiveness was quite high. Apparently, the issue was with their teams. Even more specifically, the issue was with the teams low phycological safety. Even though some of the teams have been worked together for a while now, they had not yet normalized. Most of the teams were stuck between the forming and storming stages of team maturity. After getting to the root of the issue. the company then ran a program to help teams normalize and thrive in the new normal. The program proved to be successful after a couple of runs.
After we concluded our reunion, I got to think more about inventiveness. It seemed like the younger brother of the powerful framework used by organizations to reposition their products and services in todays new normal. There are slightly different approaches to the model but they carry the same principle. There is Design Thinking, Design Sprint and so on.
Let’s go back to the definition from my friend. Solving todays challenges with whatever resource you have at hand. We laughed when he used the former hit show ‘MacGyver’ as an analogy. MacGyver would always get out of his predicament using his Swiss Army Knife and whatever he had at hand. This important ‘inventiveness’ competency again resonated with me when I reached out the next day to an old friend who owns a ‘medrep’ outsource company.
Cathy had a dilemma when the pandemic hit. Her employees could not go to supermarkets, doctors and hospitals due to the lockdown. She started thinking of her situation and instead of complaining, she did a quick inventory of what resources she had. She has people on float that she can call back, she had medrep training rooms that was not being used, she had access to pre-paid SIM cards and pre-paid load.
She then assigned outbound and inbound call agents. She is not in the BPO industry. She is also not an expert on the topic. However, the businesswoman in her would not let her sit still. She had to reposition some of her services to adopt to the new normal.
With ten (seven outbound and three inbound) call agents they started calling the people listed in their huge database. They grew their database through the years. They started putting together templates or scripts for both types of calls. They also created scripts for handling complaints. Lately, they purchased a proper telephone system that can record calls for quality control, route inbound calls and so on.
For me. this is a perfect example of ‘inventiveness’ competency in action.
How about you? How about your company? Are you repositioning your products and services to be relevant in todays new normal? Are you repositioning your skills for the same reason? Are you stubbornly doing business the same way you did? Are you thinking that your current business model got you to where you are. However, it may be best to remember that what got you there will not be the same business model that will get you to the next level. What got Blockbuster to their sheer size and success as a business was the same business model that caused them to close shop when Netflix got into the market.
What are you doing differently to make you or your company relevant in todays world?