The COVID-19 pandemic hit event manager Riyaz’s business hard. Almost overnight, he lost several contracts as social distancing measures kicked in and marketing budgets were slashed. After a few months of lockdown, business picked up again, but the focus had shifted online. Fortunately, Riyaz had foreseen this and had built a network of professionals in the video production and animation space to fill the need. While business was nowhere near as big as it had been before, it allowed him to stay afloat in the short term.
Riyaz’s transformation is an example of learning agility. In today’s world, the pace of change is increasing exponentially. For organizations to respond to this adequately, they look to a new generation of leadership and employees who can adapt quickly to a shifting environment.
What Learning Agility Looks Like
The opposite of agility is rigidity, and a rigid approach is a no-go in today’s workplace. Here are a few characteristics of learning agility:
Learning Agility Is A Win-Win:
If you’re agile, it benefits you in many ways, while other people also benefit from your knowledge.
Learning Agility Helps You Innovate:
It allows you to challenge the status quo. Learning-led leaders are always looking for new opportunities. You’re not limited by traditional ways of thinking.
Learning Agility Is Not About Having All The Answers:
Don’t feel you need to have all the answers all the time. Rather, it’s about being open to new ideas and having a learning mindset.
Learning Agility Allows You To Learn From Your Mistakes:
It involves a certain comfort with uncertainty and an ability to take calculated risks. You should ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I fail?” and then pursue your goal with confidence and determination. Embrace complexity.
Learning Agility Takes Honesty:
Face the gaps in your knowledge and be eager to learn from those who know more than you. Within organizations, this can create a culture of learning and creativity where people are valued as resources who bring something different to the table.
Organizations need to ensure there’s ample training for learning-led leaders. It’s important that they learn about the types of knowledge they should seek and how to develop these skills. Working alongside others who also have this mindset can help.
Meaning Of Learning Agility
With many traditional organizations still displaying top-down hierarchies, it can be difficult to be agile in such a rigid system. However, here’s how you can grow your own learning agility skills:
Think Critically And Independently
This is easier said than done, but is really at the core of so many business skills. As an individual, it’s important to stay open-minded and always try to look at things from different perspectives, identify patterns and pay attention to detail. Critical thinking prompts you to see connections between topics, events and people. It also means being able to think laterally, creatively and collaboratively about problems. Being curious and asking questions are an important part of being an independent thinker. It’s a mindset worth cultivating.
Get Ready To Learn
Remember that you’re in charge of your own learning process, so there’s no need to wait for life or the workplace to teach you. Learning agility isn’t just about the number of degrees you have or your career level, either. Keeping your skills and knowledge updated could involve reading relevant books and blogs, listening to podcasts or signing up for online courses.
What small organizations get so right, and some larger ones stumble on, is staying on top of changes in market trends, technology and consumer behavior. As an agile learner, you need to do this work yourself.
When you’re open to new ideas, it’s easier to understand the situation you’re in and contribute to the decision-making process. It’s important to be open and take part—whether it’s a policy planning meeting or a team meeting, it’s important that you listen and ask relevant questions. This is where you can transform your theoretical knowledge into practical experience.
Even if you’re stuck in a traditional system, you can claim your space as an agile learner. There are many ways to unlock the true meaning of learning agility, such as joining clubs, going for workshops and conferences, learning from public speakers or even finding a mentor. Discover what works for you.
Examples Of Agile Leaders
One of the most critical components of learning agility in leadership is being open-minded. Here are some examples of how it can look on the ground.
Successful entrepreneurs are examples of leaders with learning agility. They challenge the way we think about everyday things such as transportation or how we view our food supply chain—they’re constantly challenging their own assumptions and thinking out-of-the-box to come up with innovative ideas. These leaders share their knowledge and experience with the world, allowing others to learn from them. They take on a mentor’s role and encourage others to think differently as well. They aren’t afraid to take risks and learn from mistakes they make along the way.
Being able to change track is an example of learning agility. Organizations often need to pivot from strategies and tactics that don’t work to explore newer pastures that do. For instance, the music industry started out fighting against illegal streaming services. It was only when they embraced the change that had already arrived that they could learn how to market music through legitimate internet-based delivery services of their own.
Learning agility leads to progress and development. By quickly identifying the need in the market and society, businesses of all kinds—both for profit and non-profit—can arrive at solutions. Responding to the ever growing environmental criticisms against commercial livestock farming, several organizations have been working to develop satisfying alternatives to red meat. Their products are now selling in stores and have made a significant impact on how the world is thinking of food choices. Innovators like this create a market and an opportunity where there was none before.
In order for organizations to grow into fresh ways of thinking, we must encourage learning agility amongst all types of leaders.
Why Learning Agility Is Necessary Today
The business environment is changing. Customers are demanding new and improved products and services, and they’re doing this faster than ever before. If you’re not moving fast enough, your organization will quickly fall behind. Here are three reasons why learning agility is no longer an optional component for organizations, it’s a necessity:
Domain Knowledge Is No Longer Enough
It’s no longer enough to have knowledge of a particular subject. People need to learn as quickly as possible to improve their performance at work and develop within their organizations. Learning agility entails being able to continually learn, adapt and re-design your ideas.
The World Of Work Has Changed
The Covid-19 pandemic has made clear the need for agility in business. It has hastened the digital transformations that were already underway, challenging all organizations to reimagine the world of work, customer service and product delivery.
The IT Industry Doesn’t Stand Still
More so than most other industries, learning agility is crucial for the future growth of information technology. Resilient IT organizations are those that adapt to change by learning and teaching their employees new skills and encouraging them to use them in innovative ways.
Internalizing the meaning of learning agility is the only antidote to uncertainty. Whether your organization is small, medium-sized or large, you need to be aware of how the business environment is changing and that there are many uncertainties that you’ll face.
A growth mindset has become very important in today’s world as it’s possible to learn almost anything on the internet. People can find information from a wealth of different sources and use it in their own unique way. This fosters a mindset in which people seek knowledge to do their job more effectively.
That’s where Harappa’s Learning Expertly course comes in. We don’t realize that we can learn how to learn. Dive into different methods to learn, unlearn and relearn. Master the art of learning from experience and unlocking innate wisdom in your day-to-day life. Take control of your learning agility today!
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