Cultivating behavioural agility

Behavioural agility is critical to successfully navigating through our ever changing working world. Liggy Webb explains what the five essential elements are to behavioural agility, and exactly how to cultivate these essential skills. 

In an evolving and hectic world, where the pace of life is faster than it has ever been before, it’s increasingly important to be able to think on your feet and react and adapt quickly, positively and effectively.

Behavioural agility is not just about your ability to change. It’s about your dynamic capability and how to respond in a timely, innovative and sustainable way when you need to. So how can you become a more nimble thinker? The word AGILE lays out a very useful acronym for explaining the key components:

A is about adaptability, so that you can positively embrace change
G is about being genuine, and having the confidence to step out of your comfort zone
I is about innovation, so that you can improvise and solve problems
L is about being light and letting go of limitations and baggage
E is about endurance, so that you are resilient, strong and sustainable

Adaptability
It may feel that as soon as you adapt to one set of circumstances it’s all change again. That is evolution and there is no progress without change. One of the biggest obstacles to the opportunities this presents can be your attitude. If you’re resistant to developments then you’ll be setting yourself up for a tough time. 

You may experience change that you don’t like or even understand and there may be nothing you can do to stop it. You may dig your heels in but there comes a point where the wave of new advances is stronger than you are capable of conquering. In this situation, real intelligence teaches us that whilst you may not be able to alter the situation, you can choose your response.

Liggy Webb’s BiteSized book Behavioural Agility costs £2.00 each when purchased via the Charity Learning Consortium – a discount of £1 per book. More details below.

Being genuine
You were not born to be perfect, you were born to be real. In a world that is dominated by social media, it can be a struggle to determine people’s real selves from selectively designed images of the ideal. 

Never lose sight of who you really are. We are all people in progress and there will always be aspects of you that can be worked on and improved. Having a high level of self-awareness can actually improve self-esteem and confidence. Self-confidence will help you to trust your own reactions which is a big part of being agile and making decisions

Having a good understanding of your strengths and limitations, your hopes and vulnerabilities is important. Getting things wrong is part of the human condition.

This can be challenging, because education doesn’t always equip us to deal with mistakes – so much focus in education is about getting things right. Learning from your mistakes can be some of the most important stepping-stones to shaping your dynamic capability though, so don’t be afraid to trip up from time to time.

Being genuine will also help you to be connect with others and be less judgmental and accepting.

Innovation
The ability to be able to innovate is critical to agility. In a world where there is less security and more uncertainty and ambiguity than ever before, it‘s important to explore new ways of doings things. 

Tried and tested methods of what may have been appropriate yesterday may not be relevant and appropriate for today and tomorrow. It may feel easier to stay within a secure comfort zone, but what we perceive is our comfort zone now may be the biggest risk for future success.

Remember though that creativity is about thinking up new ideas; innovation is about implementing them.

Staying light
Letting go of unnecessary baggage will allow you to be a far more nimble thinker. Agility requires you to think and react quickly so that your responses are relevant to the current circumstances. It isn’t about running about like a headless chicken, multitasking at breakneck speed. It’s about being sharper and more focused. If our minds are overwhelmed and cluttered it’s impossible to navigate some of the complexity that is rife.

A very high percentage of what we do, we do without thinking. We’ve collected a huge amount of behavioural habits through our lifetimes. We’re on autopilot for much of what we do. Take time to examine those habits and decide how helpful they are. Some of them may be restrictive and slowing you down.

To be a nimble thinker one of the most important things is to be able to distill complexity and make things simpler. As Albert Einstein so eloquently put it:

If you can’t explain it to a six year old you, you don’t understand it well enough yourself.

Endurance
Agility is very much about endurance and the need to be strong and sustainable. It’s essential to develop a core strength and resilience so that you can bounce back ready for the next challenge. Develop the necessary toolkit to be able to survive and thrive through turbulent times.

Tough times don’t last, but strong people do and your ability to endure these is crucial. Being enduring is about having the strength to see something through, despite setbacks along the way.

Your dynamic capability and agile behaviour will certainly help you to navigate many challenges in life and at work, and equip you to be more nimble in your thoughts and actions.

Exclusive charity discount for Liggy’s BiteSized book series: Liggy Webb’s BiteSized book Behavioural Agility costs £2.00 each (plus vat and postage) when purchased via the Charity Learning Consortium* – a discount of £1 per book. An up to date range of titles can be seen on the Learning Architect website, with online samples of each book. Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team on info@charitylearning.org or call us on 08451 707 702. 

*Terms and conditions apply. Please speak to one of the Charity Learning Consortium team for more information.

 

About Liggy Webb

Liggy Webb is an award-winning and bestselling author, presenter and international consultant specialising in behavioural skills. She’s recognised as a thought leader on resilience and behavioural agility and works with a wide range of businesses, helping people to be more resilient, agile and healthy in a volatile, uncertain and highly complex world. 

Some of the organisations that Liggy works with include the BBC, the NHS, Macmillan Cancer Support, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. She partners with the Charity Learning Consortium to develop resources for the voluntary sector. 

Her book, Resilience: How To Cope When Everything Around You Keeps Changing, is a practical and accessible guide for coping with change and offers advice on how to recover and flourish through challenging times. The guiding principles in the book have been televised for a series with the BBC world service.

 

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