The Role of Learning Agility in Leadership

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will define the concept of learning agility. We'll then go over its role with respect to leaders and the main characteristics leaders should be aware of.

What Is Learning Agility?

Learning agility refers to an individual's ability to educate themselves, adapt to changing conditions, and make sense of uncertainty. This skill is critical for everyone, but leaders especially. This is because the flow of information and competition moves at a fast pace. Those who are able to most quickly adapt to the newest information and situations are the ones, all else equal, most likely to succeed.

In this lesson, we go over the importance of learning agility, as well as some of its main characteristics.

Role of Learning Agility

Of what importance is learning agility to leadership? Learning agility helps a person understand what they need to do when they have no idea what they should be doing. This sounds a bit counterintuitive, but with learning agility it actually makes sense.

When something novel happens, you may not know what to do at first. But if you are able to quickly adapt to this situation, find the information you need to deal with it, and assimilate that knowledge into action, then you'll know what to do thanks to learning agility.

As an example, let's say that a disruptive technology has hit your market. You could just fold and say it's all over. Or you could ignore it and pretend it's not a big deal. But a leader employing learning agility would do neither. He or she would find out everything possible about this disruptive technology, and more importantly, figure out how to adapt in order to gain from it.

Another possibility has less to do with learning completely new information to deal with a novel situation. This is because learning agility also encompasses the ability to apply your current knowledge to an unexpected situation in a novel way.

For instance, you might utilize your expertise in sales to deal with a customer service crisis. You might extrapolate what you've learned about dealing with people while engaging in sales in order to come up with a service-centric solution.

Characteristics of Learning Agility

Learning agility such as this involves numerous important characteristics. They include the following:

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