Organization & Leadership Consulting

Burke Learning Agility Inventory

Leadership Building Blocks > Burke Learning Agility Inventory

Leaders are Learners

Leaders are learners. At least the ones that have actual followers are. In a constant-white-water environment that demands agility, even a leader’s modes of learning must be agile. The Burke Learning Agility Inventory measures observed learning practices and their relative frequencies. The resulting report provides valuable perspective and points of contact for focused personal and professional development conversations and decisions.

The Burke LAI does not score high or low performance efforts or outcomes. It measures observed frequency of use within these nine learning dimensions:

  • Flexibility – Openness to new ideas and solutions
  • Speed – Acting on ideas and solutions quickly, to learn what works and does not
  • Experimentation, – Attempting approaches and behaviors that include unknowns
  • Performance Risk-Taking – Stepping out of one’s comfort zones and expertise
  • Interpersonal Risk Taking – Leaning into difficult conversations and relationships
  • Collaborating – Seeking and implementing ways of working together
  • Information Gathering – Through a variety of sources and how often
  • Feedback Seeking – Asking others for input on behaviors, ideas, and performance
  • Reflecting – Taking time to contemplate and evaluate one’s own attitude and actions

Frequency of one or two particular dimensions does not necessarily render them superior to others — circumstances and situational needs must also be taken into account. For example,navigating the technical needs of a space mission successfully might necessitate different learning abilities than navigating a nonprofit’s complex interdepartmental conflict scenario. Since the Burke LAI is a 360-degree assessment, it offers a range of perspectives on how frequently different approaches to learning are observed. The value of these varied perspectives is realized through subsequent conversations about when and how those observations are made. Rather than a tool for passing judgment, the LAI is a springboard for dialogue that leads to greater self-awareness and effective learning interactions with others.

The LAI lends itself towards exercising the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership in a more authentic manner while imbuing individuals with increased confidence along their journey of continuous growth.It can also open up dialogue with supervisors, colleagues, and direct reports that will help identify which learning dimensions you ought to strengthen and which might be more effectively leveraged through delegation and collaboration.