Learning agility

The concept of learning agility has never been more topical or relevant to leaders. Given the constant churn in today's world of business, success comes to those who are agile in the way they think, solve problems, manage their business and relate to people.

Learning Agility

Learning agility is defined as the ability and willingness to learn from all kinds of experience and use those lessons effectively in new and different situations. On the surface, it may appear to go hand in hand with intelligence. It does not. Acquiring technical skills or knowledge is the domain of intelligence and this is not the same as facing and mastering real-world issues and challenges.


Whilst a higher degree of intelligence is necessary to deal with the complexities of executive roles and responsibilities, it is the ability to derive meaning from events and relationships that is the hallmark of adaptive leadership.

Given time and practice, most people can become better leaders, but highly learning agile people master the task faster and more completely. These people are constantly on the lookout for new challenges and actively seek feedback from others on their growth and development. They tend to self-reflect, evaluating their experiences and drawing practical conclusions.

Since 1991, Lominger International, now Korn Ferry, has been at the cutting edge of research into the identification and development of high potential talent through learning agility. They found that learning agility is the best single predictor of a person’s potential to grow and perform well in different jobs.

Through their research, they have identified five factors of learning agility as a foundation for developing and mastering a powerful set of leadership skills.

These five factors – Mental, People, Change and Results Agility, plus Self-Awareness form the basis of structured, standardised and consistent assessment that objectively measure potential.

The practical implication is that organisations should assess learning agility to identify individuals who have the potential to succeed in new and different roles. We recommend three specific ways to do this using the new suite of tools in the Learning Agility Architect™.

  • A 360-degree survey called Choices™
  • A self-assessment called viaEDGE™, and
  • An interview protocol known as Learning from Experience™ Interviewing.

Organisations also need to be mindful that learning agility can be developed and ensure that their business climate supports rather than hinders it. A continually hectic and demanding environment allows little or no time for reflection and consolidation of experiential learning. This has potentially very negative consequences in terms of morale, motivation and performance.

To find out more about how to use the concept of learning agility and use the 'Becoming an Agile Leader' resources, please call us on +613 9667 9100 or email