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Learning Agility: Understanding Its Potential in the Workplace
HR managers are key resources in spotting and developing learning agility in any organisation. Research from many respected human resources authorities has shown that the ability to learn from experience is one of the key characteristics of people with high potential. High potential employees usually have learning agility but not always. Those who respond flexibly to new processes and institutional changes perform even more effectively than high potential employees.
What Is Learning Agility?
Learning agility is the ability to incorporate new material quickly, and the concept developed in the business world where it was found that the ability to learn quickly and use that information in business was the strongest predictor of success. Those with agility show strong leadership qualities. Only about one-third of high-potential employees live up to their promise, but those with various dimensions of learning agility perform at the highest rate. These skills can be developed and improved. Those with various agilities learn quickly from information and experience, take risks, strive for growth and exhibit resiliency. These people absorb information through books and classes, peer learning, direct experience and reflections on past performances. Even failure can prove valuable to those with agility because they grow from their unsuccessful experiences.
The Five Dimensions of Learning Agility
Learning agility isn’t a single skill but a broad area that includes at least five aspects of learning. Each person is likely to have relative skills and shortcomings in different categories, so it’s critical to determine how each employee ranks in five categories. These categories, which were identified by Korn/Ferry Lominger after extensive research, include:
1. Mental Agility
Mental agility, despite common misinterpretation, doesn’t mean intelligence and book smarts but is closer in meaning to street smarts. Those with mental agility are curious and work quickly to identify the salient practicalities in new information and work processes. These people cut through extraneous information, quickly find the most relevant insights and use that data to improve business practices and perform their duties at the highest level.
2. People Agility
People agility consists of people skills and leadership qualities. Those with people agility connect with others on an emotional level and display true empathy. Others look to them when changes occur or a crisis develops. These individuals work through conflict, value diversity and obtain actionable insights from different perspectives.
3. Change Agility
People with change agility thrive on new challenges and first-time endeavours. Unlike people who prefer highly structured and predictable work situations, these workers prefer to challenge the status quo, try new methods and improve business operations and/or their work environments. These individuals aren’t afraid to fail because they learn something even when they don’t succeed the first time.
4. Results Agility
Results agility is similar to change agility, but those with strong results agility strive to succeed the first time. These people consistently deliver the best results when undertaking new challenges.
Self-awareness is a critical element of career success. People who know their own strengths and weaknesses perform better on average than those with any of the other skills. A Cornell study found that accurate self-awareness was the greatest factor in predicting leadership qualities and career success.
Smart managers and HR staff encourage development in each area while using relative skills and weaknesses to allocate resources more effectively. For example, those with strong people skills might become managers, front-office staff or salespeople. Those with self-awareness know their limitations and try to get projects within their respective wheelhouses. Results-oriented performers show others how to succeed in new projects, and those with change agility find new and better ways to accomplish their duties.
Why Learning Agility Is Important?
Today’s complex and competitive business environment has generated many changes in standard operating procedures including more flexible and agile responses to change. Leaders can’t rely on traditional practices where employees follow well-established and inflexible rules. Savvy leaders respond proactively to change and industry trends, and they do so by inspiring and cultivating learning agility in their teams. Fostering a learning ecosystem gives employees the tools to access educational resources, advance their careers and establish themselves favourably in their industries and among their peer-to-peer contacts.
Learning Agility’s Relevance in Developing Leadership Qualities
Leadership qualities often occur naturally in certain individuals, but these qualities can be developed by cultivating learning agility. Today’s rapidly evolving business trends require new skills and a willingness to adapt. Developing agility helps to foster the right leadership qualities that statistics show are increasingly essential. Research conducted by Forrester and the Business Marketing Association found the following relevant insights:
- Leadership qualities are essential because 88 percent of workers turn to their peers for data and insights.
- About 34 percent of people feel overwhelmed by change, so learning agility becomes increasingly critical.
- 60 percent of HR departments actively recruit younger people because they are more comfortable with digital technologies and innovations.
- 21 percent of workers feel that their skills have already become obsolete.
Predictors of Learning Agility
There are many benchmarks for predicting learning agility. The best forecasters are based on core competencies, which is why it’s critical to analyse work performance to identify strengths and weaknesses. Managers can strengthen the analyses by monitoring performance carefully, challenging teams to develop new skills and encouraging team members to identify and reflect on their strengths and weaknesses. Some of the best predictors of people who have learning agility include:
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- Deals with ambiguity
- Shows strong problem-solving skills
- Learns on the fly
- Manages conflict well
- Listens actively
- Demonstrates perspective
- Sizes up people quickly
- Deals well with paradoxes
- Works well alone
- Pursues personal learning
- Demonstrates patience
- Grasps process management imperatives
- Thinks creatively
- Understands others through strong empathy
- Retains composure in difficult situations
- Motivates others
- Organises effectively
- Shows accurate self-knowledge
- Has command skills and leadership qualities
- Recognises political issues and deals with them perceptively
How to Cultivate Learning Agility
HR staff and managers can cultivate learning agility by creating supportive environments for taking risks and learning new skills. Creating a conducive environment for learning involves designing workspaces that are free-flowing instead of trapping people in small cubicles. The best learning environments go beyond the physical to include the entire ecosystem of the organisation. That includes workspace design, managerial and executive support for innovation and building a learning culture. Identify, recognise and encourage people to develop leadership qualities.
It’s critical to give people enough space to experiment through trial-and-error. Encourage workers to take educated risks without delivering recriminations for failure. It’s important to develop a mindset of openness and receptivity to new ideas and different ways of doing things. Managers can reward workers based on how quickly they learn new skills. Motivating people to learn is a direct benefit of developing managers who have strong leadership qualities. Best practices for fostering workplace agility include:
- Discussing inspirational stories and case studies of creativity and innovation
- Initiating group discussions where people build pro-and-con arguments for specific initiatives
- Solving problems with a logical and systematic approach
- Carefully considering each team member’s viewpoint, beliefs and values
- Incorporating different perspectives in action plans
- Evaluating arguments critically to encourage rational thinking
- Offering developmental, educational and microlearning resources
- Promoting people who quickly absorb new skills
- Using rewards, recognition and gamification to encourage developing leadership qualities
- Providing mentors, coaches and peer-to-peer assistance for learning new skills
Learning agility is perhaps the single most critical benchmark that determines business success, employee potential and leadership qualities. HR managers face enormous challenges for succession planning, retaining top talent and troubleshooting change management. Leaders must constantly adapt to succeed and remain competitive. Fostering greater learning agility provides the critical blueprints for developing talent in-house and fostering staff loyalty and career satisfaction.
Learn about the power and potential of your brain
The brain is the most powerful organ humans possess. Although we all have a hugely powerful potential offered by our brain, we spend very little practicing our thinking skills. We believe that thinking is either a natural function or that the great thinkers among us are gifted. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Everyone has the ability to improve our brains’ under-used potential.
Do you want to get to know your brain better? Then let’s take a look at some astonishing facts about this powerful organ.
The Brain contains 100,000 billion connections
The facts about the brain are truly stupendous. For example, did you know that the human brain takes up a fifth of all the energy generated by your body in its resting state? It is similar to a 20-watt light bulb continuously glowing. How big do you think the brain is? Well, if you can imagine it, your brain consists of 100 billion cells, each one of which connects to 1000 other brain cells making a total of 100,000 billion connections. There are more cell connection points in the human brain than there are stars in our galaxy. As Norman Cousins put it, “Not even the universe with all its countless billions of galaxies represents greater wonder or complexity than the human brain.”
No one has ever been able to use their brain’s full potential
Here are some more astonishing facts about your brain. Although the brain weighs just 3lb, it contains 12 trillion nerve cells (more than two and a half times the people on this planet). It contains 1000 trillion, trillion molecules (way beyond our ability to compute), and can process 30 billion bits of information a second. Your brain has 10 billion neurons and the range of connections all the neurons in the brain could make would amount to one with 28 noughts after it. Your brain has enough atomic energy to build any of the world’s major cities many times over. Unsurprisingly, no human being has yet existed who has been able to use all the potential of the brain. How about you?
Exploding the brain myths
One of the reasons we fail to make the most of our brain and, therefore, our thinking skills, is that we hang on to a range of inherited assumptions about our brain and our capacity to think. Many of us believe that, contrary to the facts, we are either born bright or stupid. We think that we are only as intelligent as our measured Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and that this is fixed throughout our lives. We think that, when we run up against big problems, they just can’t be solved. We fret over taking decisions and bemoan our ability to choose wisely. We think that we are stuck with the way we think and that we cannot change it. And to top things off, we think that, as we age, our brain declines and with it, our abilities to remember things. The only one of these assumptions that is true is that it is only our thinking that limits the power of our brains.
Summary of our brain’s key points
1. The human brain is so powerful that few of us come anywhere near to using it as well as we could.
2. Every person has the ability to think intelligently and creatively.
3. The brain is the source of key mental faculties such as memory, imagination, creativity, and innovation.
4. The brain is the key tool for mastering the modern information age.
5. Everyone in a modern organisation is a knowledge worker to some extent.
6. According to research, half the skills needed by successful workers involve the use of thinking skills.
If you want to learn more about the power of our brain, how to improve your memory and how to be more creative, check out our eBook Thinking Skills: Using Your Brain in the Information Age.
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The Dash platform empowers Data Science teams to focus on the data and models, while producing and sharing enterprise-ready analytic apps that sit on top of Python and R models. What would typically require a team of back-end developers, front-end developers, and IT can all be done with Dash.
Dash Open Source
Plotly stewards Python’s leading data visualization and UI libraries.
With Dash Open Source, Dash apps run on your local laptop or workstation, but cannot be easily accessed by others in your organization.
Scale up with Dash Enterprise when your Dash app is ready for department or company-wide consumption. Or, launch your initiative with Dash Enterprise from the start to unlock developer productivity gains and hands-on acceleration from Plotly’s team.
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Dash Enterprise helps businesses operationalize data science, AI, and ML models. It’s everything you need to deliver your AI or ML initiative at scale.
Easily build, deploy, and manage—no DevOps required.
Speed your time-to-delivery with complete management of your applications.
Design like a pro without writing a line of CSS.
Easily arrange, style, and customize your Dash apps.
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Generate and store point-in-time reports as an interactive web view or printable PDF.
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Manage sharing and authentication preferences and easily secure your apps with built-in permissions and integrations with SAML and LDAP.
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Natively embed Dash apps in an existing web application or website without the use of IFrames.
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Minimize production impact of hardware and software failures. Increase accessibility and infinitely scale.
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Machine Learning Dashboard.
This object-detection app provides useful visualizations about what’s happening inside a complex video in real time. The data is generated using MobileNet v1 in Tensorflow, trained on the COCO dataset. The video is displayed using the community-maintained video component.
Oil & Gas dashboard.
This Dash app displays oil production in western New York. Filters at the top of the app update the graphs below. Selecting or hovering over data in one plot will update the other plots (‘cross-filtering’). Dash apps are powered by Plotly.js, a fully featured charting library including maps like these, financial charts, scientific graphs, and more.
This app, created for noncompartmental pharmacokinetics, is typically used to analyze data from small animal studies during the lead optimization phase of drug discovery. These studies are used to help predict human dosing and plan safety studies.
Financial Reporting dashboard.
These customized and interactive reports enables your end users to mine relevant insights by interacting with and exploring your data content.
Reports built with Dash, benefit from further out of the box interactive functionality, such as adding dropdown or a search box elements.
Dash helps teams do more.
Before Dash, it would take an entire team of engineers and designers to create interactive analytics apps.
Every aesthetic element of a Dash app is customizable and rendered in the web so you can employ the full power of CSS.
Dash apps require very little boilerplate to get started. A fully-functional analytics app can weigh in at just 40 lines of Python or R code.
Dash links interactive UI controls and displays, like sliders, dropdown menus, and graphs, to your data analytics code, giving you hands-on input for your data views.
“Plotly’s visualization libraries have expanded S&P Global’s Market Intelligence New Product Development capabilities to create and extend our insights to our clients efficiently using highly interactive scientific visualizations to deliver our insights.”
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Benefits of Drinking Hot Water
Drinking hot water can provide your body with the water it needs to replenish fluids. It can also improve digestion, relieve congestion, and even make you feel more relaxed.
Most people who drink hot water as a holistic health remedy do so first thing in the morning or right before bed for optimal health benefit.
Warm water to a temperature between 120°F and 140°F. Hot water should not be hot enough to scald your taste buds (temperatures of 160°F or more can scald and result in significant burns).
Add a twist of lemon for a vitamin C boost, and you’re already on your way to better health.
Here are 10 ways that drinking hot water may benefit you.
The warmth of hot water creates steam. Taking a deep inhale of this gentle vapor while holding a cup of hot water can help loosen clogged sinuses and even relieve a sinus headache.
Since you have mucous membranes throughout your neck and upper torso, drinking hot water can help warm that area and soothe a sore throat caused by mucous buildup.
Drinking hot water both soothes and activates your digestive tract. Water is, after all, the lubricant that keeps your digestion going. As the water moves through your stomach and intestines, digestive organs are better hydrated and able to eliminate waste.
Hot water can also dissolve and dissipate things you’ve eaten that your body might have had trouble digesting.
Drinking hot water can calm your central nervous system and lubricate your body. When your nervous system is primed for healthy and controlled reactions, you’ll find that you feel fewer aches and pains, as well as less panicked throughout your day.
A person who has arthritis might get an extra benefit from using hot water — to calm their central nervous system.
Drinking hot water helps your intestines to contract. When that happens, old waste trapped in your intestines is able to pass out of your body. Drinking hot water regularly helps keep you, well, regular. But drinking it occasionally when you’re constipated isn’t a bad idea, either.
Hot water is no different than room temperature or cool water when it comes to keeping you hydrated.
A common recommendation from health authorities is that an adult should drink eight 8-ounce glasses (about 2 liters or a half gallon) of water a day. That’s a hard target for many people to hit.
Starting your day with a serving of hot water and ending your day with another will get you that much closer to being adequately hydrated. Your body needs water to perform basically every essential function, so the value of that can’t be overstated.
Drinking hot water wakes your body’s temperature control system up. As your body compensates for the warm temperature of the water, it brings your internal temperature down, and activates your metabolism.
Hot water also helps your intestines contract to clear out waste products that are bloating your body, which gets rid of the dreaded “water weight.”
Taking a warm bath helps your circulatory organs — your arteries and veins — to expand and carry blood more effectively throughout your body. Drinking hot water can have a similar effect.
Healthy blood flow affects everything from your blood pressure to your risk of cardiovascular disease. As a bonus, warmth from drinking hot water or bathing at nighttime can help relax you and prepare you for restful sleep.
Since drinking hot water helps improve central nervous system functions, you might end up feeling less anxious if you drink it. If you add some warm milk to the mix, you might find that you’re feeling even more calm than after drinking hot water, according to one study.
Drinking hot water temporarily begins to raise your internal body temperature. When you drink hot water, or when you take a warm bath, your body’s endocrine system activates and you start to sweat.
And while sweating might be uncomfortable, it’s an essential part of getting rid of toxins and irritants that you’re exposed to in your environment.
Achalasia is a condition during which your esophagus has trouble moving food down into your stomach.
People with achalasia (and with eosinophilic esophagitis) have trouble swallowing and also sometimes feel like foods get “stuck” (dysphagia) in their esophagus instead of moving to the stomach.
Researchers aren’t sure why, but warm water can help people with achalasia to digest more comfortably. Drinking warm water with oily food or a meat-heavy meal might be especially helpful for people with this diagnosis.
Drinking hot water has plenty of benefits, but it isn’t a magical cure-all. And drinking water that’s too hot can actually damage the tissue in your esophagus, burn your taste buds, and scald your tongue. Be very careful when you drink hot water — pay attention to the temperature.
You shouldn’t drink hot water if you’re working in a hot climate or exercising. Research shows that drinking hot water makes you less thirsty. If you’re environment or activity raises your risk of being dehydrated, give yourself the best chance you can to stay hydrated by s drinking hot water.
Getting into the habit of drinking hot water doesn’t take a lot of work. Starting your day with water that’s been boiled and left to cool is an easy way to switch out your morning coffee.
Add a light session of stretching to your routine, and you’ll feel more energized and better equipped to tackle your day.
If the taste of warm water doesn’t appeal to you, add a twist of citrus — like lemon or lime — to the beverage before you drink it.
Drinking warm water before bed is a great way to wind down after a busy day. Knowing about the health benefits will have you sleeping soundly.
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