In business and for the coming holiday season, agility is the ability to have. Living and leading in such challenging times requires what business psychologists have been calling a hot topic for quite some time. It’s learning agility. It can easily be referred to as continuous learning and application. It’s more!
The illusion of having a life under control will be tested during this holiday season, with its demands on time and increased stresses. The holidays will quickly come and go.
In business, 2018 will bring an abundance of gray areas to clarify and novel challenges. The new year will require the ability to learn quickly and apply what’s learned to new and unique situations over and over. Learn from these new experiences and put the new knowledge to work in unique situations. Learning agility, according to researchers at Korn Ferry, a leader in recruiting and executive development, has five learning dimensions or parts:
Mental agility dives deep into the complexities of problems to see new connections and solutions.
People agility is like emotional intelligence to relate well to others and add the contributions of others to business success.
Change agility relishes in experimenting and being curious about new situations and changing situations.
Results agility uses resourcefulness and team insights to perform well in new situations.
Self-awareness is being reflective and knowing your strengths and weaknesses without exaggeration or denial.
These are what amplify learning agility in circumstances that are challenging and new. There’s a touch of resilience in learning agility; it advises against sweating the small stuff or letting it become an obstacle.
Learning agility involves collecting insights for future use. Keep a record of them and apply them as appropriate to improve thinking “on your toes” going forward. Share them with your team members so they can benefit as well.
To thrive in these unusual times, researchers at the Center for Creative Leadership offer some additional support in using learning agility. They identify two learning-agility enablers — innovating and performing (or attending). Innovating begins with questioning the status quo and long-held assumptions by asking “why?” This allows you to generate new ideas to use and to generate new results. Performing in an agile framework requires you to be continuously present and engaged and apply what is learned quickly as new situations arise. These are fast-moving situations requiring keen observation and listening skill.
There is a caution with being learning agile. Constantly seeking new information and knowledge can have an negative effect on your colleagues and team members. Some may feel it’s a difficult standard to keep up with; others may see it as being stubborn with only your insights as correct with little room to truly influence a new challenge or new approach. Verify your new ideas with your team to allow them to comment and offer their ideas in an open exchange.
Learning agility doesn’t create a super person who’s always right. When practicing these skills with a good coach, you can use them more effectively at work and elsewhere.
So, boldly go where no one has gone before with courage, agility, resilience, and teamwork!