Learning Agility, an indicator of leadership potential?


“Learning agility is the willingness and ability to learn, de-learn, and re-learn. Limitations on learning are barriers invented by humans.”- Pearl Zhu

In this world, everything is continuously changing and we are uncertain about so many things. In this volatile, unpredictable state, there is only one way to survive and that is to adapt, learn, and move forward. Here, we are referring to the concept called “Learning Agility”. According to Forbes, there was a research conducted by Korn Ferry International on nearly 1 million executives demonstrate that, as we climb up the executive ladder, we ought to become increasingly comfortable with uncertainty and sudden change.

Learning agility is an indicator of leadership potential because these people are good at absorbing information and using it at the right time. Learning agility allows people to assimilate new things and apply them to a required context.

As we become leaders in our roles, we ought to have the capability to weave together pieces of information and ideas together and craft innovative solutions from them.

Here are some key findings from the Korn Ferry Institute:

  • Just 15% of the global workforce is highly agile.
  • Executives who are highly agile have 25% higher profit margins.
  • Executives with high levels of learning agility are five times more likely to be highly engaged.

It is generally observed that employees who are highly agile are open to changes, they seek to learn new things and enjoy this process and make sure they incorporate it in whatever they do. Learning Agiles are equipped with tools, lessons, and solutions which help companies during times of crisis.

This is not an in the skill you’re born with; it is something you develop over the years. Here are some motivators which help with cultivating and refining Learning Agility:

  • A strong desire to learn: curiosity is everything. Our mind is trained in such a way that whenever a question pops into our mind, we put our 100% to think about the Ws and H to explore new possibilities.
  • Restlessness: Some people are restless when it comes to their performance. This manifests in a positive way, and such people tend to work harder and smarter to improve their results. These people are not scared to experiment and hence try new things.
  • Willingness to embrace change: People, who are highly adaptable, are quick to learn. They are very optimistic about applying those changes in life and unlearning old things.
  • Success Driven: This quality motivates agile learners to experiment and apply that learning to gain better results.

In order to develop leaders, it is vital to develop your talent pool in all of the above dimensions. This can help employers get the best out of their employees and use their potential for the interest of the company. More than just a process they go through, individuals or organizations should actively make learning agility a habit.