Friday, August 21, 2020

Learning Agility

Rapid change and fierce competition demand everyone to continuously maintain and grow their expertise/skills.

We live in a knowledge economy, today’s digital professionals are knowledge workers who are open to learning and sharing insight and creating new knowledge all the time. 

You simply can't resolve the 21st-century problems with the mindsets shaped half-century ago. Continuous learning is not only a job requirement but also a great habit to keep our minds fresh and knowledge updated. Learning agility is a person's ability to learn quickly, and adapt prior knowledge to new experiences, build professional competency, and solve complex problems smoothly. Here are three aspects to develop learning agility.




Evolve the full learning cycle: Due to abundant information and increasing paces of change, the digital environment is dynamic and uncertain, the digital workforce today has to learn and relearn all the time, and digital learning is a set of multidimensional, dynamic, interactive, informal, integrated, and continuous processes. The division between “working” and “learning” is replaced by combining and integrating “working, thinking and learning,” and it’s important to create a business context in which people are encouraged to learn, empowered, and respected to create the business synergy. You need to not only assimilate existing knowledge but also have to keep updating knowledge, create new knowledge, and become the knowledge value creator for solving problems large or small effectively.

Limitations on learning are barriers set by humans themselves. Business innovation today is heavily dependent on having the right people with a growth mindset to catalyze change relentlessly. Learning competency differentiates high potential from mediocre, and it’s a great indicator of long term professional competency. A collective learning capability is strategic for a company’s long-term success. Organizations are socio-technical so organizational learning models should be socio-technical in nature. To shape a high mature digital organization involves developing a learning culture that has awareness of the importance of learning, leveraging learning platforms and tools, and reaching a high level of perception, high level of perspective; and high levels of understanding. 

Encourage Self-learning: Everyone has an enormous capacity to learn, it’s strategic to build a learning organization in which people can learn and grow. Knowledge workforce today needs to be deep thinkers and effective self-learners, taking initiatives to absorb new knowledge and update their skillset. They apply their learning, act, observe the consequences of their action, make inferences about those consequences, perform better, and make continuous improvement.

Business environment tends to be more dynamic (in a company as well as across the industry) The responsibility to maintain/grow one's expertise (technical and management/ leadership/ industry) has always largely fallen on the individual employee; albeit it is great when the organization has a comprehensive plan, provides support and intellectual challenges to develop their talent deliberately. Learning organizations are often more innovative, practicing “adaptive learning” joined by “generative learning,” to enhance their business “capacity to create.” In fact, learning agility at the business level is a digital capability and culture shift, and will directly impact the speed of digital transformation.

Optimize resource management: High organizational learning relates to high response in recognizing and addressing system constraints or resource limitations. Resource management could become a bottleneck to business learning agility. It's critical to mind the resource and investment gap of corporate learning, enforce a holistic resource management discipline to foster collective learning agility. Unless constraints are addressed, a range of employees’ frustrations, stress, and poor organizational performance examples can increase.

Knowledge assets are a blend of resources, not a single asset. Knowledge Resources include knowledge, education, training, insights, experience, etc, of the people who comprise the company. Resource management is an important aspect of corporate learning. With information management and knowledge management convergence, what is necessary is to have the information organized scientifically so knowledge workers can access it whenever and wherever they need it, to build a strong knowledge foundation and improve corporate learning agility.

Rapid change and fierce competition demand everyone to continuously maintain and grow their expertise/skills. Learning, innovation, and improvement will come from all of the workforce and not just the chosen few who believe they have all the answers. The digital-ready workforce is composed of people who can think and work independently, well-disciplined, have both learning agility and excellent problem-solving skills, to drive business growth and accelerate performance continuously.