“Agile companies understand the importance of tapping employees’ ingenuity to develop novel approaches to emerging business challenges.”
Taken from the ‘Real Future of Work’ report, published by world renowned US global analytics and advice firm, Gallup, this quote goes part of the way to unravelling the importance of agility.
While providing the right environment for employees to flourish, and allowing them to be empowered to develop and action their ideas is to be commended and is certainly a step in the right direction, agility needs to be tested and measured just like other technical and interpersonal skills.
As part of our learning journey, we need to know how agile we are. To do this, we need to understand more about our own triggers, in particular the behaviours that hold us back and can potentially derail us. To fully fulfil our potential, we must first be ready to embrace those opportunities that present themselves. It’s like being handed the keys to a supercar without having passed your driving test. You don’t want to take those sorts of risks!
Knowing agility inside out
Agility is a far more complex concept than first meets the eye. There are two main parts to consider. The first is to look at ourselves inwardly, and see how we react to day-to-day work situations, for example how we cope with pressure and deal with failure. Only by understanding what we at Morgan Philips refer to as ‘Pace’ and ‘Brake’ factors – the behaviours that accelerate and slow down our progress, can we begin to make those adjustments needed to progress.
The key to unlocking our true potential is how we then apply these ‘inner’ agility insights and put them into practice. The ‘intel’ that we gain about ourselves helps us to shape our responses in the way that we work and collaborate within our teams to achieve common goals and results. This enables us to build on our 'outer' agility, so that we can better manage the constant flux around us. This will lead to calm yet calculated decision making, fast yet measured responses. Striking the right balance is what we’re aiming for.
If we want to develop and improve, agility has to be monitored and measured. This means integrating agility into existing assessments and making it a key part of learning and development programmes. You might want to consider including the two core elements of agility that we mentioned above into psychometric personality testing alongside interview questions that are designed to flag areas of strength and weakness. A range of online and face-to-face business simulation exercises and scenarios can also be used to measure agility.
Performance based results
Once these areas have been identified, individual one-to-one and team coaching workshops can help to develop mental and learning agility in the context of strategic business transformation and change initiatives, focusing on specific business outcomes. The theory needs to be put into practice, with the onus being on the individual to take on new challenges and grow professionally and personally. It’s that combination of training and experiential learning that will increase and improve agility, in turn generating superior results for both the employee and organisation.
While not all of us are destined to become CEOs, with the right coaching, assessment, development and good management, we can all start on our path to improvement. The introspective part is taking a long, hard (not beating ourselves up!) look at yourself to see how we’re actually faring in the agility stakes. Then apply that outwardly in your relationships with team-mates, the impact that it has on performance, and how you can learn by stretching yourself – in the process, stepping out of your comfort zones.
“Chief learning officers find that traditional programmes no longer adequately prepare executives for the challenges they face today and those they will face tomorrow. Companies are seeking the communicative, interpretative, affective and perceptual skills needed to lead coherent, proactive collaboration.”
Of those skills mentioned by the Harvard Business Review, there is none more pivotal to individual and organisational success than our good friend, agility.
To learn more about Morgan Philip’s Agility model and how it can transform the careers of your individuals, synergy of teams and groups as well as the fortunes of your organisation, go to morganphilips.com/agility