Charles Darwin was clairvoyant: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
129 years after Darwin uttered these words, business leaders are beginning to acknowledge how important agility is to their success. In a PwC survey of 1,150 CEOs, 76 percent said that their ability to adapt to change will be a key source of competitive advantage in the future. A study by McKinsey found that 9 out of 10 executives said organizational agility was critical to business success and growing in importance over time. And, after conducting more than 2.5 million leadership assessments, Korn Ferry found that being learning agile is a key predictor of success and a critical attribute of effective breakthrough leadership—above intelligence, education level or even leadership competencies. Yet only 15 percent of executives possess this trait.
Despite the progress, there is still a gap in understanding exactly what you need to do to become more agile.
The National Research Council (the Government of Canada’s premier research organization) developed an excellent five-point scale to evaluate an employee’s personal agility competency. It progresses from Level 1, “changes when required” to Level 5, “enables an environment that fosters personal agility.” At the lower levels of personal agility, employees adapt to new approaches when explained why and how while maintaining a positive outlook as pressure increases. At each progressive level, employees are evaluated on how proactively they model their own change behaviors as well as how they encourage and create an agile work environment.