Sunday, May 1, 2016

Three Questions to Assess a Person’s Agility

An individual’s agility is a fundamental digital capability block through which she or he can build more advanced professional capabilities.

Agility is related many things such as adaptability, flexibility, changeability, robustness, sensitivity, comprehensiveness, speed, responsiveness, etc. Either at the business level or from the individual perspective, agility is the multidimensional competencies to adapt to changes, formulate creative or unconventional alternatives or solutions to resolve problems, to show versatility and flexibility in response to unpredictable or unanticipated circumstances. It’s a crucial ability to thrive in today’s “VUCA” normality. Which questions should you ask to assess an individual’s agility?

Are you mastering the full learning cycle: Learning, unlearning and relearning? The mind with learning agility likes to experiment and comfortable with change. Learning agility can help a digital professional to move out of his or her comfort zone, take risks, learn from mistakes, and grow to a lifetime learner. People are always the most critical element for any business success, and more often the weakest link as well. In Agile circumstances, people should be able to unlearn what is not working, eager to learn new things, willing and be able to communicate and collaborate, have a passion for what they do etc. Of course, this needs to be supported with people focused organizational culture and appropriate reward and recognition policies, which encourages learning, change, sharing, and collaboration.

What’s the correlation between agility and innovation? Digital means flow, there is more flow of creative ideas, the better opportunities to reap the benefit from innovation management. Learning agility is an important element to spark creativity. Being learning agile via experiment on innovation, delivering a result at the first-time situation will be more frequent than ever. It will allow one to obtain new insights and experiences that can only help in your future endeavors as well. Think outside the box, go against the grain. At times throw away conventional means and try something radically new, and overall multifaceted resourcefulness. Agile is a fantastic way of working to involve everyone in the process of creation and delivery. Organizations need to be getting used to these forms of working and commercializing value at the digital era with the new characteristics of hyper-connectivity and convergence.

Do you (either as a professional or a team) follow the agile principles to focus on three “I”s: Interaction, Improvement, and Innovation? A process or methodology like agile is people dependent, agility is all about people and change. A mature Agile team composed of passionate people that embrace change and seek understanding will be paramount. Share early and share often, cross-functional collaboration and iterative communication are encouraged to optimize business processes and improve business agility. A system has neither accountability nor responsibility. A system cannot provide leadership. Individuals must be made accountable and responsible including giving into mediocrity. The systems never have saved the world but individuals did. Organizations, as a social milieu made of individuals, may encourage or even drive mediocrity. You need first and foremost people who value working to the best of their ability, being agile and willing to cooperate and communicate effectively under conditions of mutual trust, to achieve a common goal.

Agility is about both creating the change and adapting to changes. An individual’s agility is a fundamental digital capability block through which she or he can further build more advanced professional capabilities and better fit in the digital dynamic we live in. There needs to be broad management support for Agile talent management and an understanding that it means empowering staff to be creative and adaptive. This is not always an easy transition for an organization but being agile is the right way to go, and agility is a high professional quality.


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