Agility (noun) – ability to move quickly and easily.
An agile or change-ready organization is able to quickly adapt to changing circumstances; it is ready for anything. It can respond instantaneously to changing customer demands. Parallel to this, an agile of change-ready employee is essential to the success of an organisation.
Author, Jessica Pryce-Jones calculates that people spend an average of 90 000 hours at work in their lifetimes. Consequently, your place of work has a great impact on your quality of life and general wellbeing. As the world of work continues to evolve, so should you.
The organisation has a critical role to play in ensuring a sustainable workforce. Management and HR professionals must ensure that they attract and retain agile and adaptive people.
The organisations also needs to help current employees develop this capacity, as this will ultimately contribute to the overall work environment (which is where most of our time is spent); and the workforce required for the future.
Employees, equally have a critical role to play in ensuring the sustainability of the organisation. For me, it starts with a positive attitude.
Banking – the industry in which I operate, is highly competitive. In addition, 3 new banks are set to enter the market; which will provide new banking options, making the market a lot more competitive than it already is. The banking sector in South Africa is about to get exciting – and HIGHLY competitive. We have seen a few changes already, and anticipate many more.
Learning agility is the ability to quickly develop new effective behaviour based on new experiences. Below are 5 important attributes, some or all of which are typically shown by agile employees (see more here):
1. They are self-aware (see previous post on Emotional Intelligence)
Self-awareness is the cornerstone of learning agility. An individual who is highly self-aware is cognisant of his/her own strengths and weaknesses, whereas individuals with low self-awareness may have trouble recognising where they fall short. In fact, individuals who are aware of their own shortcomings are far more willing to admit their mistakes and recognise the need to develop further skills and abilities.
2. They are willing to invest energy into their own development
A learning agile employee is proactive and flexible in the face of changing demands, as well as being self-aware about his/her development needs. This means that your training initiatives are far more likely to be met with acceptance, success and, ultimately, concrete results.
3. They are able to grow into leaders
Learning agile employees are key to your succession planning strategy. An individual’s level of learning agility can be compared to their stretchability and willingness to grow within the company, whereas traditional personality, cognitive and competency assessments inform the current picture of behaviours, skills and abilities. Those individuals with high learning agility can grow into more senior roles, and can model learning agility behaviours and values to their subordinates.
4. They listen to feedback
A big part of learning agility is always trying to do better. That’s why these employees appreciate both positive and negative performance-based feedback. Not only do they actively listen to this advice, but they consciously use this information to improve themselves.
5. They are change agents
Learning agility implies being able to deal effectively with change, and instill those values in others. Ensuring that these learning agile change agents occupy key management and leadership roles will assist your organisation in being more change ready. After all, being successful in a competitive marketplace means proactively embracing change, not reactively managing the consequences of change.
Change is certain, and change is constant. My advice would be to maintain a positive attitude and ensure that you remain relevant. Learn new skills and empower yourself continuously.