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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.

I’m a Nashville-based writer, talent strategist, and certified executive coach. On this website, I share insights and actionable practices concerning mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling: lifelong strengths that will help you love your career and enhance your quality of life.

Most of us are facing similar pain points: nonstop change, accelerating economic and technological disruption, and the collective “noise” that grows louder each day. The impact, for so many of us, has been confusion, distraction, and stress. Mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling can make the difference between being overwhelmed by all of these dynamics…or leveraging them for success and well-being.

“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.

Looking for additional insights and tips? Start with this post. And, as time permits, check out my books, and join our learning community to receive free, exclusive content via email each month with timely guidance on applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling.


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