Monday, December 19, 2011

Strategic Agility & Learning Agility

As we close 2011, I am struck once again by the profound evolution of our industry. As I reflect on this year professionally and set goals for 2012, I am reminded of the advice given to me by Sheri Leonardo, one of the best human resource professionals I have ever worked with. She said the two hardest things to cultivate in an employee are strategic agility and learning agility.

Strategic agility comes with experience and knowledge over time. It's recognizing opportunities/threats and then swiftly taking action as appropriate to modify and optimize initiatives to maximize performance and achieve stated goals. We all (hopefully) acquire this ability as our careers develop and change over time.

Learning agility is the ability to continually develop and refine one's skills in a profession throughout your career and apply that knowledge to new situations. It's using transferable skills to grow your own understanding to solve new challenges. It requires ongoing learning and consumption of information. It's more than "staying current." It's actively seeking new challenges and knowledge to address issues and achieve goals.

Sheri's words echo in my head as we move into 2012. While I know some organizations make great investments in ongoing training and development for employees, it is important to recognize that continued professional and personal development is not "up to companies," but up to the individual.

What are some of the skills you want to develop in 2012? Are there good resources you would recommend to fellow professional communicators looking to expand their knowledge and learn something new?

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