Agility or nimbleness is an ability to change the body’s position efficiently, and requires the integration of isolated movement skills using a combination of balance, coordination, speed, reflexes, strength and endurance.
Agility is the ability to change and control the direction and position of the body while maintaining a constant, rapid motion. For example, changing directions to hit a tennis ball. (M. Hill Pub)
Susan David introduces a concept that she terms “emotional agility,” defined as: “being flexible with your thoughts and feelings so that you can respond optimally to everyday situations.
Life changes in every moment. We experience change in every next moment. Our thinking is changing rapidly therefore things are changing quickly. Now we are the member of VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous world). If we stuck somewhere intellectually and emotionally for a long time, we will be obsolete. 21st century demands more resilience, more agile, more active and more aptness’s in personal and professional life. Agility is essential skill for surviving and succeeding in today’s time.
Agility is a mindset. Agility means adaptability to new ideas. Agility means individual’s willingness to do things differently, doing something new innovatively and creatively. Agility requires courage to think differently and ready for experimentation. Agility requires a positive learning culture, a positive working culture where fear of failure exists scarcely. Fear of failure or punishment for failing in giving appropriate outcomes stops individual to look forward for designing and implementing innovative ways to invent something new and valuable.
Agility is core skill in today’s world. An agile person performs significantly and meaningfully in unfamiliar and challenging situation. An agile person thinks positively, innovatively, creatively, and thinks critically how well it works with the desired outcomes.
Agility is essential skill to be learnt, developed and nurtured over a period of time. It is expected and also observed that an agile person has several characteristics features which make him different among several.
1. Honesty in learning
2. Willingness to test and learn
3. Embracing experimentation
4. Ready to rethink, redesign and reinvent
5. Failure is chance for growing
6. Amazing resilience and persistence
7. Accurately perceiving others and understanding how you are perceived
8. Growth mindset-ready to develop the mindset, skills and behaviour
9. Embracing spontaneity, adaptability, and risk
10. Easily building rapport and connecting with others
11. Working with others to build ideas work effectively as a team
12. Taking an agile approach to transformation means setting a goal, but not the time or cost
David Hoff and W. Warner Burke explains learning agility as “what you do when you don’t know what to do.” It is the skill. He emphasizes on “willingness”. “Willingness” to take risk in novel situations is the key feature of an agile person. I firmly believe that skill and motivation are equally important for growth and success.
Burke identified nine “clusters” associated with learning agility in the book “Learning Agility: The Key to Leader Potential” :
• Feedback-seeking – asking others for feedback on performance
• Information-seeking – the desire to update knowledge and expertise
• Performance Risk Taking – taking on new roles and assignments that are challenging and volunteering for activities where you aren’t quite sure what you’re getting yourself into, but you know you can have fun and learn (He likes this one.)
• Interpersonal Risk Taking – sharing/disclosing mistakes with others
• Collaborating – working with colleagues from different backgrounds to share perspectives
• Experimenting – testing out unproven ideas and moving on when it doesn’t work out (this includes a tolerance for failure)
• Reflecting – critically evaluating events with others in order to understand what happened (what he believes to be one of the most important dimensions of all – I agree – this is a key mechanism of learning)
• Flexibility – the ability to shift, such as finding common themes among opposing points of view
• Speed – moving on quickly and not dwelling unnecessarily
Prof. Burke pointed out that the last two, speed and flexibility, are the most powerful. If we wish to succeed in 21st century complex and fast changing world, we need the courage to break the box, the rigidity and embrace spontaneity, adaptability, develop dexterity and willingness to take risk. Agility demands the valor to experiment with new ideas and new approach while dealing with new situation, new challenge and task. Agile person builds rapport, connects with others, and understands the value and importance of another person in the team. Agile person is an effective leader who possesses the ability to flexibly respond to constantly changing and unpredictable environments with ease and agility.
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