Learning agility is an interesting concept and is very close to me. It is an interesting thing based on success and growth but to understand the concept, first, you need to know what learning is. From my experience, learning is the creation of a relationship between two things: the known and the unknown. Learning is not about the process of figuring out this or that, it’s a step-by-step process linking what is known to the unknown. Great teachers understand this concept and they implement this in their behaviours, and teaching which you can see prominently. So, we must understand that learning is both science and art. The moment to give references and connect it to storytelling and then it becomes one of the most powerful ways to influence your brain. Learning strategies are crucial for both success and failure. Strategies are specific ways in which we organize our resources and get consistent results. How do you organize this resource is something which is very crucial for success and failure. We say that 70% of your experiences are shaped by the on-the-job experiences, 20% of it gets shaped by your interaction with others and 10% is the formal experience or the formal stuff that we have. Three things that shape experiences are our crisis, mistakes, and career setbacks. I’ve had major career setbacks in my life and in my professional career which have taught me the most important lesson. I’m sharing my experience in the interview, people say that I have 20 years or 30 years of experience, but how do you give value to all this experience is the question. Since I work for a movie company and I’ve been in the entertainment industry for some time. Movies are something which is close to all of us. There’s a beautiful movie called Sully: The Miracle on Hudson. It’s a real story of the US flight 1549 which happened on 5th January 2009 in New York. Charlotte was the flight that took off from the airport where there was a bird hit and in about 209 seconds an emergency landing had to be done. Both engines had failed but he was at such a height that it was not possible for him to reach the airport back, so he had only 209 seconds now in hand to survive or to crash. In the first 90 seconds, he made himself calm. In 209 seconds, he landed on the river Hudson and it’s the only incident where such a landing has happened and there have been no casualties at all. Let us now look at what Sully’s experience was, what did he do in the past that made him land this aircraft so easily? He was a fighter pilot, flight instructor, and crash investigator in the past. These are very important points when you look at somebody’s experience. While landing on the river Hudson he took the plane as if he was driving a glider. When he was told in an interview, ‘you crash the plane’ he said, ‘No I was forced to execute a water landing; I had every intention of saving everyone.’ He chose three things: confidence, right intention, and control. He said, ‘It might be that 42 years of small deposits that I did in my experience, education, and training and then on 15th Jan 2009, the balance was enough to have a large withdrawal.’ So, my observation has been crucial in this is that he did not panic for those 30 seconds. He would have panic; the mirror neurons would have been fierce, people around him would have behaved differently, and the situation would have been different. Sometimes we see that our bosses come into the office, they’re in different moods and our moods also change because of the influence of the mirror neurons that we have. The story is a good example of learning agility. Learning agility is the willingness to learn from experiences and apply them to another situation and it’s a mindset.
Q No- 2- Is learning agility, the new differentiator in terms of success or growth?
Learning agility is the key to unlock success. The lessons of experiences that make a real difference. Your potential increases multiple times if you have great learning agility. We truly live in a V.U.C.A (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) world. Today, we all understand that we have a personal brand, what am I known for, what do I stand for, what am I capable of becoming. These are the simple answers that we all have to answer. If you look at Sully. He took those 90 seconds to figure out what’s going on, what are my options available, and how bad is it. Why did he spend that time in that calm state, he was doing nothing but gathering the piece of information, the experiences of gliding, the crash investigations that he had done, he bought them all together. There was an interview where he said, ‘I was actually gathering everything together and figuring out what has to be done.’ So, it’s evident that learning agility was the key differentiator and the only incident where such landing has ever happened. There were people who have tried this kind of landing on a simulation and they took a minimum of 17 attempts. It’s a brilliant example of how learning agility is the key differentiator and how it is one of the new differentiators even in the corporate world because we all know what situations are. People with learning agility are very focused, organized, and original. They have great resilience whatever it takes is one attitude that they always have, and they are very extroverted. Agile is nothing but adaptable, transparent. That’s how it will become a new differentiator and it’s going to create a great difference. Leaders with learning agility are the future of the model.
Q no 3- How can one enable learning agility?
The process of enabling learning agility is not easy but it’s simple. I believe Systems work, people don’t. If you have a system and if you can implement it, you will be able to do anything and everything that is possible. The five strategies that I personally do to keep enabling learning agility are: performing, remaining always engaged, and handling stress and ambiguity. The second thing is to extract learning from past experiences. As one of my teachers Les Brown says, ‘You got to be hungry, so you must be hungry all the time to extract learning from the experiences that are happened around you. You must be innovating all the time.’ The third thing is innovation, to challenge the status quo that is there around you. The fourth thing is monitoring the things that are there inside you, or the conditioning that you and I have gone through for the past many years makes us defensive, behave according to certain things. We are most of the time are on autopilot. So, break that autopilot. Look at defensiveness and among other things. The fifth and foremost thing that can enable learning is called exploring. Explore new things, always be open and keep exploring. These are the five things that can enable learning agility.