Learning Agility, vision of the complex environment

Experts describe Learning Agility as “knowing exactly what to do when you don’t know what to do” This is often better known as critical thinking. It has proven to be a highly reliable predictive competency of talent and future leaders.

If our goal is to achieve success in a VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) environment, we have to understand our ability to adapt and try to minimise our resistance to change.

According to research “Learning About Learning Agility” from the Centre for Creative Leadership, Learning Agility is defined as “the mind-set and corresponding collection of practices that allow employees to continually develop, grow and utilise new strategies that will equip them for the increasingly complex problems they face in their organisations.”

Thus, the characteristics presented below are identified as “activators” of Learning Agility:

· Innovating: questioning the status quo and challenging the most common assumptions in order to discover new and unique ways of doing things.

· Performing: learning from experience occurs more frequently when we are overcoming an unfamiliar challenge. People with learning agility learn new skills quickly and perform them better than peers with less agility.

· Reflecting: having new experiences does not guarantee that you’ll learn from them. People with learning agility seek feedback and process information with enthusiasm for a better understanding of their own assumptions and behaviour.

· Risking: people with learning agility are pioneers; they venture into an unknown territory and they themselves stand there to try new things.

On the other hand, the following characteristic is identified as a “derailer” of Learning Agility:

· Defending: being open to experience is essential for learning. People who remain closed-minded or defensive when challenged or receiving criticism tend to be lower in learning agility. However, people with high learning agility seek feedback to process and adapt based on their newly acquired self-understanding, and in different situations and problems.

Organisations are not only interested in degrees or experience in specific jobs; nowadays they are looking for employees who are capable of agile and continuous learning and who are versatile and able to prioritise needs to meet objectives.