Developing your Personal Agility

Last Year (2020), although it was scary, taught us that we are able to adapt to truly uncertain times and unexpected shock. Our learning was that we need to relook how we can become more flexible and adaptable because we do not know when the current unpredictability will end.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
Alvin Toffler

For most of us we have had to embrace an Agile Mindset. Agility is a strength in this economy. In my previous article I spoke about the required job skills for a 21st century world, of which the most important is continuous learning. Developing your agility will assist you with this commitment to lifelong learning.

Personal agility can be defined as one’s dynamic capability to reply to situations in a timely, innovative, and sustainable manner which is appropriate for the situation. If one is open minded to change and open to exploring different approaches one will be better equipped to navigate volatility, uncertainty, and complexity.

When considering continuous learning, the research on Neuroplasticity has shown that the brain has the capacity to modify, change, and adapt both structure and function through our lifetime, in response to different experiences and requirements. In other words, if you are not feeling very agile right now, it is alright because your brain allows you to develop new skills through practice.



So, what experiences should you expose yourself to, to develop your personal agility?

  1. Try something new everyday

Whether it be eating something new, talking to a different colleague, reading a new book or an interesting article – the focus is on trying anything that will expand your experience. Choose specific things that you have wanted to find out about, or that you have avoided and push yourself to engage with these to assist you to learn at least one new thing a day.

  1. Physically improve your agility

Yes, this means physically stretch – when our bodies are feeling more flexible, our brains will too.

  1. Challenge your ways of thinking

For everything that you perceive as having a negative outcome, or as causing you anxiety – force yourself to write down two opportunities or two positive outcomes that can come from your situation. Reflect back on previous experiences that you viewed as negative, but despite your apprehension had a positive outcome in the end. Start to view obstacles as opportunities to learn.

  1. Personal Vision

Most people do not consider, or define their own personal vision. Reflect on what you want for yourself – instead of allowing others to dictate what you should be doing, reflect inwards and ask yourself what you want for yourself. What is the most important thing you want to achieve from developing your agility?

  1. Structure

Although it sounds counterintuitive when we are talking about agility, it is important to structure time in your day to practice your agility ‘exercises’. Whilst agility talks about flexing according to the needs of your situation – becoming agile requires practice and time to develop such a mindset.

grow your organisation

By Katherine Roper
Senior OD Consultant / Industrial Psychologist

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