HERE YOU WILL:
A. understand what learning agility and learning capacity is;
B. underline why it is important to increase your learning agility and capacity;
C. get know how to increase your learning capacity and agility.
Time needed to review this content: 20 MIN
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” What do you think about this statement? Do you agree? Do you disagree? This statement is about learning capacity and learning agility. Learn about these concepts in this knowledge pill and learn how you can increase your learning capacity and agility which enables you to further develop and grow, both professionally as personally.
On the surface, John looked like the perfect up-and-coming executive to lead BFC’s Asia expansion plans. He went to an Ivy League B-school. His track record was flawless. Every goal or objective the organization had ever put in front of him, he’d crushed without breaking a sweat.
But something broke when John went to Asia. John struggled with the ambiguity, and he didn’t take prudent risks. He quickly dismissed several key opportunities to reach out for feedback and guidance from leadership. It became clear that John had succeeded in the past by doing what he knew and operating rather conservatively within his domain. It also became clear that the company was going to massively miss the promises it had made to the Board and the Street if John remained in the role.
With a heavy heart, BFC’s CEO removed his promising protégé from the role and redeployed him back in the US. He decided he had no choice but to put a different kind of leader in the role – Alex.While talented, Alex had come to be known behind closed doors by the moniker “DTM” – difficult to manage. He marched to the beat of his own drummer, and he wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. He loved a challenge, and he was comfortable taking risks. It turned out to be the best move the CEO ever made. No stranger to ambiguity, Alex was flexible in formulating his strategy and sought feedback from the people around him. He made a risky move at the beginning that backfired on him. But as a result, he learned what not to do and recalibrated his approach. That was the key to success. His tendency to buck the established BFC way of doing things was exactly what was required for the company to successfully flex its approach and win in the new territory. (Source: https://hbr.org/2015/06/improve-your-ability-to-learn)What Alex’s success exemplifies is the importance of “learning agility” and “learning capacity”. Learning capacity refers to the way that individuals (and organisations as groups of individuals) are able to recognise, absorb and use knowledge. Capacity to learn comprises of the following:
Learning capacity and Learning agility
1. Introspection is the individual’s willingness to look back and learn as well as the ability to learn from mistakes and to identify areas of improvement.2. Reflection and contemplation is the individual’s ability to observe his own thoughts, actions and feelings in order to improve further and perform better.3. Getting into the flow is the individual’s ability to get into a new experience and flow with the experience. It is the person’s child-like ability to derive joy out of learning.Learning agility implies the willingness and ability to learn, the ability to remain open to new ways of thinking and to continuously learn new skills. This strongly depends on related qualities such as emotional intelligence and behaviours.What are ways to increase your learning agility and learning capacity (“enablers")?• Innovating: This involves questioning the status quo and challenging long-held assumptions with the goal of discovering new and unique ways of doing things. Innovating requires new experiences, which provide perspective and a bigger knowledge base. Learning-agile individuals generate new ideas through their ability to view issues from multiple angles.• Performing: Learning from experience occurs most often when overcoming an unfamiliar challenge. But in order to learn from such challenges, the individual must remain present and engaged, handle the stress brought on by ambiguity and adapt quickly in order to perform. This requires observation and listening skills, and the ability to process data quickly. Learning-agile people pick up new skills quickly and perform them better than less agile colleagues.• Reflecting: Having new experiences does not guarantee that you will learn from them. Learning-agile people look for feedback and eagerly process information to better understand their own assumptions and behaviour. As a result they are insightful about themselves, others and problems. In fact, in prior studies, Green Peak Partners discovered that strong self-awareness was the single highest predictor of success across C-suite roles.• Risking: Learning-agile people are pioneers – they venture into unknown territory and put themselves “out there” to try new things. They take “progressive risk” – not thrill-seeking, but risk that leads to opportunity. They volunteer for jobs and roles where success is not guaranteed, where failure is a possibility. They stretch themselves outside their comfort zones in a continuous cycle of learning and confidence-building that ultimately leads to success.How do you decrease your learning agility and learning capacity (“derailer”)?• Defending: Being open to experience is fundamental to learning. Individuals who remain closed or defensive when challenged or given critical feedback tend to be low in learning agility. By contrast, high learning-agile individuals seek feedback, process it and adapt based on their newfound understanding of themselves, situations and problems.
Learning capacity and learning agility
In times of change, managers and employees need to be more agile than ever. The willingness and ability to learn from experience and knowledge influences not only the extent to which we grow as individuals, but also how we are perceived by others. Ultimately, our ability to continuously learn and adapt will determine the extent to which we thrive in today’s turbulent times.
10 Ways to Increase Your Intelligence & Improve Your Brain Power (7:32 minutes)
TIPS AND TRICKS
5 additional tips to increase your learning capacity:
1. Seek novelty
2. Challenge yourself
3. Think creatively
4. Do things the hard way
It is of major importance to be willing and able to learn, to be open to new ways of thinking and to continuously learn new skills in order for you to further develop and grow. Innovating, performing, reflecting, and risking are ways to increase your learning agility and capacity.
THINK OF SOME ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS
1. Is learning capacity and learning agility the same or just closely interlinked?
2. What are the best ways to increase your learning agility and capacity?
3. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Is your opinion on this statement still the same as before your dived into this knowledge pill? Please explain your answer.
4. Create a list of 5 action points to plan increasing your learning agility and capacity!