Are you surviving or thriving? These two skills could make the difference!

If there were two essential skills that every individual and organisation should consciously try to develop, then now more than ever, those skills would be agility and learning agility.

In this edition of The Intentional Leader, I will explain agility and learning agility, why you need them, and what you can do to develop them.


What is Agility and Learning Agility?

Agility and learning agility are two terms often used interchangeably, and while they are related concepts, they are distinctly different.

Agility is the ability to anticipate, initiate and respond to change promptly and effectively. It can be characterised by flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness.

Learning agility is the ability to acquire, distil and apply knowledge, skills, and experiences in different contexts. It can be characterised by being growth-minded, open-minded, curious, and willing to take on new challenges. It also requires a willingness to use mistakes and failures as opportunities for growth and development.

Learning agility focuses on the capacity to learn and adapt, while agility encompasses a broader range of capabilities related to responding to change and uncertainty.


Why do we need agility and learning agility?

The world is changing at an unprecedented rate. Augmented reality, artificial intelligence, blockchain and other technologies are changing life as we know it every millisecond. These changes bring about both challenges and opportunities.

Learning, unlearning, and relearning will be the new norm as individuals and organisations navigate these challenges and opportunities. Those individuals and organisations that respond faster to change and uncertainty will thrive.


What can individuals and organisations alike do to develop agility?

Now this is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some things to consider:

Embrace Change: Develop a positive attitude towards change and uncertainty by viewing it as an opportunity for growth and innovation rather than a threat.

Enhance Decision-Making Skills: Develop the ability to make quick yet informed decisions by gathering relevant information, considering multiple perspectives, and evaluating risks effectively.

Encourage Collaboration: Leverage diverse perspectives and expertise to enhance agility. Encourage others to share ideas, seek feedback, and work together towards common goals.

Adopt Agile Practices: Encourage agility within your team by establishing clear goals, roles, and communication channels. Empower your team to make quick decisions and adapt to change together.


What can individuals and organisations alike do to develop learning agility?

Now this is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some things to consider:

Actively Seek Feedback: Make a conscious effort to seek feedback from others to gain insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and development opportunities.

Embrace Challenges: Recognise that challenges are learning opportunities, even if they push you out of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself and acquire new skills.

Practice Reflection: Reflection helps consolidate learning and identify areas for improvement. Reflect on your experiences and consider what worked, what didn't, and what you learned. 

Be Curious: Stay curious about the world and maintain a thirst for knowledge. Seek out new information and explore different perspectives by asking questions. 

Experiment and Innovate: Be bold, take risks, and try new things, even if they sometimes fail. Experiment with new approaches, ideas, and solutions.

Build a Learning Network: Surround yourself with people who inspire and challenge you. Engage with mentors, peers, and experts to exchange ideas, share insights, and expand your knowledge.


In Conclusion

Agility and Learning Agility are not nice to have; they are a must. Individuals and organisations that successfully develop these skills will navigate change quickly and with greater certainty. 

While every individual should be responsible for developing his or her agility and learning agility, leaders play an equally important role in fostering the right mindsets and putting processes and systems in place to build these crucial skills.

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Northpoint was founded on the belief that leaders have the power to ignite change and make a positive impact, and that everyone has the potential to make a difference.