Organizational Culture

How to Achieve Organizational Agility by Developing a Learning Culture

Coworkers collaborating in agile organization

In a 2014 TED Talk, Dan Gilbert states very plainly the oxymoronic challenge that every organization faces today:

“The one constant in our life is change.”

Gilbert’s research shows that as a society, we consistently underestimate how much change we’ll go through over the next ten years.

He presents some interesting ideas of how this affects our decisions as individuals, but this kind of thinking can easily seep into how our organizations are run as well.

Let’s discuss why organizational agility is so important for your business to grow, and how it can be improved by shifting to a continuous learning mindset and culture.

Why Is Organizational Agility Important for Businesses?

Your business is always experiencing change, from both inside and outside the organization.

Whether it’s from advancements in technology, industry disruptors, social movements, leadership and management turnover, different preferences between generations, or any number of other factors, your organization will need to adopt a mindset that can adapt and fluctuate.

“Virtually all CEOs (90 percent) believe their company is facing disruptive change driven by digital technologies, and 70 percent say their organization does not have the skills to adapt.”

– 2017 Global Human Capital Trends

With all this change happening every day, the question is: how can organizational agility be improved to handle change better?

To keep up with new demands in technology development, many companies have begun to embrace the Agile methodology. The principles of Agile flip traditional management on its head and put more power into the hands of highly skilled team members.

By breaking down projects into shorter segments, testing and allowing for failure, re-prioritizing the workload as needed, and most importantly, granting trust and autonomy to each team member, projects are completed quickly with a high level of quality.

While the Agile methodology originated with software development, its core principles can be applied in many other ways to develop a more agile business.

McKinsey & Company defines organizational agility as “the ability to quickly reconfigure strategy, structure, processes, people, and technology toward value-creating and value-protecting opportunities.”

To build agility into your organizational mindset, you’ll need to embrace modern learning methods that are centered on trust and autonomy.

Make building a learning culture your goal, and organizational agility will naturally follow.

The days of training consisting solely of long classroom sessions that take employees off the job are over.

As the abilities of learning technology advance, so too does your ability to provide modern, agile training that embeds learning into everyday practice.

Make building a learning culture your goal, and organizational agility will naturally follow.

Training Methods that Promote an Agile Learning Culture

When you’re looking to create a more agile culture in your business, training can’t be left behind. The whole concept of change being constant proves that learning must be constant, also. Luckily, everyday learning doesn’t equate to more expensive training.

Through modern, online learning solutions, you can significantly cut down on classroom training costs, while simultaneously seeing gains in ROI.

Putting up-to-date microlearning content at your employees’ fingertips whenever and wherever they need it allows them to learn in the more autonomous, self-directed capacity that agile business demands.

An on-demand content library that’s continually updated provides an effective solution to helping your employees direct their own learning and develop their innovative thinking.

The short, single-subject nature of microlearning makes it easy to fit into employees’ busy schedules, so they can make time to learn and develop their skills every day.

Classroom training can be beneficial for some subjects, but if your business needs to adapt, your training content must also adapt quickly to the shifting skills your workforce needs.

An on-demand content library that’s continually updated provides an effective solution to helping your employees direct their own learning and develop their innovative thinking.

How Agility in Employee Training Leads to Agility in Your Business

In an article from Creative Business Inc., they point out: “One of the reasons why Agile is particularly valued by teams working on creative projects is because of the amount of autonomy and responsibility endowed on the team members. Instead of being told how to do something, team members simply know what they have to accomplish—this gives them the freedom to experiment and find unique solutions for their assigned tasks.”

The way you provide training will have a huge impact on how employees approach innovative thinking and ideas.

Learning content that teaches soft skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision making helps to empower individual team members to make smart choices. Up-to-date training content that’s available 24/7 gives you the ability to build learning into your organizational culture, which in turn makes change less daunting and easier to work through.

With self-directed learning, you put training into the hands of every employee and help them take ownership over their own skill development.

When an employee’s mindset looks for learning opportunities every day, they’ll generate more innovative ideas that lead to your business overcoming challenges and handling change more smoothly.

For a deeper dive into how you can help your organization be more agile and work through change successfully, check out our free, on-demand webinar:

Training & Development Industry Researcher | Krista researches, analyzes, and writes about the impacts of employee learning on organizations and individuals. She looks at the industry shifts and trends that matter to L&D and HR professionals, and helps them understand how to create better training programs that grow their employees and their business.