young boy reading

Learning agility, a core career and life strength, is the practice of regularly seeking new experiences, applying feedback, and reflecting on lessons learned, to keep growing professionally and personally.

“Learning How to Learn”

Learning agility, in a  nutshell, “learning how to learn.” George Hallenbeck of the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) defines four key components of learning agility:

 

  1. Seeking. Developing learning agility requires an intentional willingness to immerse yourself in new and challenging situations that broaden and expand your experiences.
  2. Sense-Making. Learning from experience is a highly active and ongoing process marked by curiosity and a willingness to experiment and even fail.
  3. Internalizing. Seeking feedback and taking time to reflect are critical for deepening insight and embedding critical lessons for recall and application.
  4. Applying. Learning agile individuals excel at “adaptive learning,” accessing principles and rules of thumb from previous experiences and applying them to navigate new and challenging situations.
These four core components of learning agility occur in sequence over the course of a learning experience. And then the sequence is repeated with each new experience.
 
For some examples of learning agility in action, check out this series of posts I’m writing about the role of learning agility in career milestones. The first post in the series includes my personal story of applying learning agility across my career.
 
Why Learning Agility Matters
 
According to Hallenbeck. individuals high in learning agility outperform peers; learn new information more quickly; learn how to interact more effectively; adapt well to working globally; get promoted more frequently; and are less likely to derail.  This “seven faces of learning agility” PDF from Korn-Ferry is worth downloading.
 

When you consider the major disruptors we’re dealing with in today’s global economy, learning agility stands out as a core strength needed for any professional in any field. Things will keep changing, rapidly–and, therefore, we need to keep learning.

And not just learn, but learn in a strategic, deliberate manner, in the nature of Hallenbeck’s steps listed above.

Next Steps to Consider

I help individuals and organizations enhance personal and business relationships and results through:

  1. Mindful Content (Books, Blogs, and Resources)
  2. Mindful Executive or Life Coaching 

What do I mean by “mindful?”

Mindfulness is my core organizing and unifying practice for every moment and dimension of life–including self-care, family, friends, community, and professional work. It also fuels and informs my advocacy for anti-racism, feminism, and climate stewardship.

In a nutshell, mindfulness is the continuous observation of moment by moment internal and external experiences, without judgement, focused on the body, feelings, mind states, and the impermanent, selfless nature of all created phenomena.

The ultimate goal of mindfulness is awakening to one’s true nature of pure awareness and happiness, and being liberated from the dissatisfaction found in craving, aversion, and delusion. Some of the most common mindfulness practices include breathing meditation, mindful eating, mindful walking, reciting mantras, and doing a “body scan,” but there are many more.

I’ll admit that mindfulness is tough to do without ongoing practice. Most of us are facing similar pain points that were already significant before the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing awareness of the United States’ history and present reality of systemic racism: nonstop change, accelerating economic and technological disruption, accelerating climate change, and the collective “noise” of information overload that grows louder each day.

The impact of all of this, for so many of us, has been confusion, distraction, and stress.

Mindfulness can be your game-changer and world-changer. There’s more research (such as this Forbes article) on the benefits of mindfulness than you or I can ever hope to read, but here’s the highlights of why mindfulness is worth doing:

  • Reduced stress
  • Increased focus and concentration
  • Increased productivity
  • Healthier relationships
  • Increased happiness and inner peace

I bring extensive cross-industry experience, education, and credentials to these services I offer. To inquire about my background and services, sign up for a free exploratory coaching session, or subscribe to free monthly content, please contact me here. You can also visit my LinkedIn profile and check out this post on my career journey.

Thanks and take good care,

John

 

John M. DeMarco is a writer, executive coach, and activist based in Nashville, Tennessee.