Learning Agility: 5 Factors to Measure Your Workforce’s Potential to Disrupt
Learning agility is the differentiator that excels companies ahead of their competitors, according to talent consulting firm, Korn Ferry. It’s also a strong indicator for long-term success. But learning agility only happens when all employees are learning agile. Which means, that employees are taught the skill of knowing what to do when they don’t know what to do. It’s the ability to study, analyze, and solve new problems.
Learning agility is especially important for businesses in the wake of Covid-19. Previous ways of doing business may not result in the same outcomes. To achieve success, leaders must encourage their workforces to get creative and think outside the box.
To unleash your employees’ learning agility, look out for five defining factors. A lack of agility in these five areas could result in company-wide loss of innovation, brain drain as unengaged employees leave the company, and falling behind competitors.
1. Mental agility: Staying inquisitive builds fresh perspectives
Mental agility focuses on employees’ ability to look at information and problems in unique ways. In other words, it’s about how well your mind can adjust to new circumstances. As one of the five major components that comprise learning agility, mental agility asks that employees make decisions on less than perfect information in what is likely constantly changing situations. Those with high mental agility are curious and eager to tackle complex issues.
Help your employees boost their mental agility by suggesting the following tips:
- Switch up your routine: Stimulate your brain by going outside your routine — perhaps working from a different location — to spark fresh ideas and solve problems.
- Ask yourself questions: Before starting a project take a few moments for brainstorming ask yourself, is something missing? Why does something work?
- Think it through: Build in five minutes for brainstorming or ideation, and block off time for deep focus work.
2. People agility: Open-mindedness brings out the best in others
Communication skills are an important, but not the only characteristic of people agility. It also encompasses the ability to work with diverse groups of people and make space for other voices. Those with high people agility enjoy helping others and value diversity of thought.
Where people agility meets learning agility is in collaboration. Collaborators who respect one another’s ideas have purposeful conversations, which then delivers results. Boost your team’s people agility factor by encouraging them to:
- Delegate tasks: This is a great way for new managers to practice clear, effective communication that empowers others to be more engaged at work.
- Make room for autonomy: When employees are given space for independent decision making, it builds trust and helps them work to their full potential.
- Behave like a leader even if they’re not: Drive collaboration within the team by allowing them to self-manage their work and role in projects.
3. Change agility: Experimentation leads to comfort with change
When the only thing you can count on is change, understanding the characteristics of a changing environment is essential to teams tackling the demands of the modern workplace. But knowing how to roll with the punches is only the first step in change agility.
A few additional ways to grow change agility in your company include:
- Boosting situational awareness: We often hear of this concept in the context of an emergency and understanding what is going on around us. But it can also relate to how we react to change. Encourage employees to examine contextual evidence to
- Creating a contingency plan: A contingency plan enables you to take on a changing environment. By planning for several possible outcomes, You may not have all the answers, you can have a plan of action for the changes as they arise.
- Implementing pilot programs: Flex the change agility muscle by using beta programs to try out an idea before moving it to wider implementation.
4. Results agility: Delivering results in tough situations
Over the last year of change in the business world, teams have found new ways to hone their cross-functional abilities — even from afar —to take projects over the finish line. Results agility means employees consistently deliver in new or challenging situations and even thrive on overcoming obstacles.
Boost your team’s results agility factor by:
- Assigning a mentor: A great way to develop results agility is to learn it from someone with demonstrated experience. Find mentors who employees can have discussions with on how to overcome challenges.
- Making space: Employees need time to learn and test new job requirements, but they also need to be encouraged to make mistakes. Give space to imperfections.
- Being an example: Keep yourself motivated to achieve results by recognizing that you, the leader, serve as an example for your team. Inspire them to believe in their ability to deliver results in tough situations.
5. Self-awareness: Understanding strengths and weaknesses
The last piece of the learning agility puzzle is all about understanding your strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness indicates the ability to reflect on your behavior, criticize your own performance, and recognize your professional development needs. High self-awareness doesn’t mean you or employees are overly confident, rather that you have the humility to recognize where you do or don’t succeed. .
Boost your team’s self-awareness with three techniques:
- Write down plans and priorities: One of the best ways to increase self-awareness is to write down what you want to achieve and track your progress. It helps to later objectively assess whether you were successful in your goal.
- Ask trusted friends: We’re not always aware of how we come across to others. Asking friends for their objective perspective can give you informal, but honest feedback.
- Request regular feedback at work: Adhere to your company’s formal review processes to get and give constructive feedback. After feedback discussions, take the time to reflect on the conversations.
Grow learning agility in your company
When a company embraces the five factors learning agility, the doors open for management and employees to be creative, flexible, and open to innovation. Together, these pillars create the “X-factor” that helps companies stand out from their competitors and keep their employees engaged and motivated.
Discover more ways to encourage agile learning in your organization in Reinventing L&D with Agile Learning.