Learning Agility: Why performing and dealing with difficulty are valuable

This is the third in a series of posts I am writing on Learning Agility.  The first post gives an overview into what LA is all about and the second talks about the value of Innovation and Creativity in the learning process.  Today’s post will focus on the issues surrounding performance and using what you know and connecting this knowledge to new and unique situations.  CCL (Center for Creative Leadership) has done significant research into LA and much of what I will write about comes from the white paper “Tips for Improving your Learning Agility”. 

Many of us feel the urge to move quickly when we encounter stress.  Speed is an important trait for getting things done, but moving too quickly can be the wrong thing when you are under stress and encountering a new situation or a variation of something you have done before.  When dealing with new issues, here are a few thoughts to consider to be a more agile learner:

  • Look first for similarities between the current situation and what you may have dealt with prior.  Try to apply the former knowledge to the new situation
  • Listen well to others and ask questions to deepen your understanding of the new issues
  • Don’t be afraid to pause and consider options before jumping into action.  I often see others taking a “Ready-Fire-Aim” approach versus studying the situation clearly.

Let me share an example from my own personal experience.  Twelve years ago I decided to give up my “paying job” to get involved with the search and consulting world.  Prior to taking the leap, I spent countless hours talking to others who had done the same or who had unique skill sets in areas I felt deficient in, but that would be of great value in my new role.  One of the skill sets was selling.  I can still remember talking with two friends, one being Mike Fisher of Integrity Services, about selling and how I might best approach this new situation.  This episode in my life gives a good example of performing, one of the five traits of agile learners.

What are you doing, or planning to do, that might involve pausing, studying and drawing upon past experiences in order to have a more complete learning experience?

When you put all of this together, you are becoming a more Agile Learner.

Come back next week and I’ll share more about the LA trait of Reflection.