CIOIT ExcellenceLeadership/InnovationProblem Management

Learning Agility Can Make Leaders Transformation-Ready

The leaders of today must embrace a scenario where expertise is needed to effectively manage situations. However, the wide range of challenges they are called upon to navigate pulls them well out of their comfort zones, and into situations where the knowledge they have acquired cannot be applied. Therefore, leaders must now be prepared to learn when they least expect to – not just in the classroom or during formal training, but on the job and during their day-to-day activities, according to Jesse Sostrin in an article at Strategy Business. This is called learning agility and will help increase the leader’s transformation-readiness, as well as help them weather disruption ready with more resilience.

Learning agility: Six perspectives

There are six perspectives that inform learning agility, and we will discuss each of them below. The first three are learning accelerators, while the last three are learning blockers.

Learning accelerators

  1. Looking back: This involves reflecting on previous experiences – from the casual to the more business-like and applying any learnings from these experiences to future scenarios. This reflection will increase the leader’s potential to learn.
  2. Looking around: Leaders should pay attention to what the others are saying, as this will accelerate their potential to learn. Any knowledge thus gleaned, whether from colleagues or clients, can be applied to successfully deal with challenges.
  3. Looking ahead: This involves anticipatory action, whether it is an emerging problem or an improved approach to dealing with a situation. This exercise will stretch the leader’s mental flexibility and increase their potential to learn. This ability to curiously look ahead will help leaders successfully adapt to change, take advantage of opportunities and more.

Learning blockers

  1. Looking for the status quo: Leaders should refrain from overly relying on the past ways of doing things. Relying too heavily on previous approaches will stifle the search for change, improvement, and innovation.
  2. Looking for the easy way: Leaders should also try to avoid taking shortcuts that prevent them from trying something different. Even though the shortcut may be cost-effective, adopting this approach will not allow for adaptation and progress in the long-run.
  3. Looking for the excuse: Insulating from the challenge of change by avoiding difficult but potentially advantageous situations should be avoided. Adopting this approach will not expose the leader to any growth experiences or opportunities.

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