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Human Resources
Aug 15, 2016

Collaborating Is The Ninth Dimension Of Learning Agility

Sponsored Content provided by Dave Hoff - Chief Operating Officer and Executive VP of Leadership Development, EASI Consult

For the few months I have been writing separately about each of the nine dimensions of learning agility. My firm, EASI·Consult, is doing work on the topic with Warner Burke, Ph.D., a professor and researcher at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Burke has created and validated a test that measures learning agility, appropriately called the Burke Learning Agility Inventory (Burke LAI). Learning agility is seen as being closely related to leadership potential. The following are the nine dimensions of the Burke LAI:

  1. Reflecting
  2. Experimenting
  3. Performance Risk Taking
  4. Interpersonal Risk Taking
  5. Collaborating
  6. Information Gathering
  7. Flexibility
  8. Speed
  9. Feedback Seeking.
As I promised when I began this series of articles, I’m going to take a closer examination in this Insights at one specific dimension – Collaborating – and what it looks like in situations at work and outside of work.
Burke defines Collaborating as finding ways to work with others that generate unique opportunities for learning.
Here’s an example of Collaborating from David McCullough’s book, The Wright Brothers. In this section of the book, the Wright brothers are on their second expedition to Kitty Hawk, N.C. The physical conditions from the wind to the mosquitos are quite challenging.  Octave Chanute, one of the foremost aviation experts of the day, sends a few of his colleagues to assist the Wright brothers in their experiments.
“As it happened, one of the two men Octave Chanute wished to have joined the brothers in their experiments had arrived just as the mosquitoes struck and shared in their miseries. He was Edward Huffaker of Chuckey City, Tennessee, a former employee of the Smithsonian Institution and author of a Smithsonian pamphlet, On Soaring Flight. Now a protégé of Chanute, he had brought with him a disassembled glider of his own design built at Chanute’s expense. …
“The second to join the group, young George Alexander Spratt from Coatsville, Pennsylvania, had little in the way of appropriate background for the work at hand. …About all he could offer as a reason for his participation was that flying had been the dream of his life. …
“ … Huffaker [would] go on about ‘character building,’ rather than hard work, being the great aim of life. The more they learned about the glider he had designed and planned to test but never did, the more they considered it a joke.
“Spratt, by contrast, helped every way he could and was excellent company.”

Now back to learning agility and Collaborating. I’m going to take you through a fictional example of Collaborating that involves Lars. Lars is an international sports marketing specialist for his company Zoom.
The role of international sports marketing specialist has existed at Lars’ company for three years. Lars handles the promotions for all the company’s brands in all the sports the company promotes. He is located in London. The company's headquarters are in Miami. When he started in his position, Lars attended some of Zoom’s U.S. events. He learned a lot, but now 100 percent of his time is devoted to planning and executing events and promotions.
Lars learned about the Burke LAI while attending a country managers’ meeting that Zoom held in London.
The country managers’ annual planning meeting was held in London last month. Lars attended and participated in the Burke LAI feedback session. He learned that his lowest score was Collaborating. This was not a surprise. He thinks it is true. The head of international business suggests that Lars reach out to Renaldo, the head of sports marketing in the U.S. Lars meets with Renaldo and they agree to do a best practices sharing session at Renaldo’s next sports marketing meeting. Renaldo also suggests that everyone attending bring a problem that he or she is trying to solve and that they use this meeting as a place to get some help. The meeting goes well and the group decides that it wants to have this kind of meeting twice a year. They also want to expand the group to include people from field sales and national accounts.

This is an example of what someone working on Collaborating could look like.
EASI•Consult® works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized corporations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. EASI•Consult’s specialties include leadership assessment, online pre-employment testing, survey research, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. The company is a leader in the field of providing accurate information about people through professional assessment. To learn more about EASI•Consult, visit, email [email protected] or call (800) 922-EASI.

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