• Google and Apple join hands, to help detect if you have met someone with a possible Covid-19 infection.
  • Airbnb hosts to provide housing to 100,000 COVID-19 responders.
  • High street brands like Zara and H&M have pledged to offer protective equipment and surgical masks to hospitals.
  • Dior and Louis Vitton parent company LVMH has stepped up to support in the hand sanitizer effort and supply face masks to the French

These and many more, have featured on top of my news feed for the past several weeks, speaking highly and loudly of one of the most important learning traits → Agility.

Learning agility, refers to the willingness to seek out and learn from unfamiliar experiences and apply those lessons to surge ahead by adapting yourself to novel situations. It is not so much about what your past accomplishments are, it is about how much potential do you have to adapt,
learn more, and take risks. Agile enterprises and individuals are always on a prowl to find opportunities in uncertain moments and seek growth in difficult market scenarios.

Learning agility comprises of 5 factors ‐

  1. Mental Agility – Embracing complexity, joining the dots in a novel way, seeking out new connections and staying curious.
  2. People Agility – Enjoying and embracing diverse groups and viewpoints.
  3. Change Agility – Willingness to lead change efforts and exploring new possibilities.
  4. Results Agility – Ability to drive and deliver results in tough situations, in response to challenging situations.
  5. Self-Awareness – Recognizing one’s own strengths and weaknesses.

Agile learners, build bridges when there are none. The best example, being that of Nelson Mandela, who embraced his “people agility” and acknowledged the opinions of his opponents and emerged as one of the world’s most revered transformational leaders.

Why agility?

  1. High levels of agility, help build your leadership potential by 18 times.
  2. High levels of agility add 5 times, to your engagement.
  3. Individuals with high agility are twice as likely to be promoted.
  4. Agility makes you a “T” learner, who focus on both depth and breadth of a skill/role.

Having known and being convinced of the importance and types of agility, here are a few quick ways to build learning agility in your teams –

  1. Challenge preexisting mindsets – Enable teams to have discussions where novel ideas and ways to approach preexisting processes are discussed. Design thinking is one of the effective ways, to enable discussions with aforesaid agendas.
  2. Reward risk taking – Acknowledge and reward individuals and teams that sign up for uncertain assignments. This can be either in a new business area or a geography. Another good idea would be to have a dedicated reward for innovation and breakthrough ideas, thus
    encouraging, exploring newer ways to solve business challenges.
  3. Co-creation – Encourage teams to collaborate more and co-create solutions, as this will fuel people agility. Working in teams and absorbing diverse perspectives, can make employees skilled communicators, thus enriching their people agility. The best examples here are the Microsoft Garage, residing at Bill Gates’ old office, and Coca-cola’s startup weekends.
  4. Shun defense – Creating an atmosphere of giving and receiving constructive feedback. View every feedback as an opportunity to know more about yourself, refine your skills, and implement any that deem fit with your career goals.

Learning agility isn’t a skill that comes naturally to everyone. However, understanding the ever-changing ecosystem that we thrive in and acknowledging it to be one of the essential leadership traits, we can take long strides, in building them.

Happy learning!

–By Achala


1. The Agility Enterprise: Taking a stock of learning agility to gauge the fit of the talent pool to the strategy.
2. Bend and Flex: Building Learning Agility, by Chief Learning Officer.

Authors bio:


Achala is a talent development professional at Deloitte USI and has a total work experience of 5+ years.

A true Bangalorean, brought up in different parts of India, she defines her life in 3 words – travel, poetry and fitness. She has travelled solo to 5 countries and a dozen Indian cities and has keen interest in writing blogs on HR and lifestyle domains. She is also a seasoned Toastmaster International and loves taking up endeavors related to public speaking. Her friends love her for her passion and perfection and hate her for her strict fitness regimen and sarcasm!

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