How can learning agility guarantee a successful career?
Lombardo and Eichinger defined learning agility in 2000 as “the ability and willingness to learn from experience and subsequently apply those lessons to perform successfully in new or first-time situations.”
Subsequent research has shown that learning agility is one of the key ingredients to a positive career trajectory. People with high learning agility grow faster and have more satisfying careers, than those with a lower learning agility.
A quick glance at the famous entrepreneurs of the 21st century proves the close link between success and learning agility. From founding a web software company in 1995, to building four multi-billion dollar companies in completely different fields, Elon Musk is a shining example of how far one can go if one has high learning agility.
You might say that quoting Elon Musk’s story is unfair, since he is an exceptional being, but what one can learn from his journey is how he has constantly built on his basic foundation, and applied principles he has learned elsewhere to keep growing in completely different fields spanning technology, physics and engineering.
With the low shelf-life of 2.5 years of most technical skills acquired by students during their years at school, developing learning agility is the only way to prevent becoming irrelevant and obsolete. The development and wide-spread use of social media, for example, has pushed people to be more agile. With new features being released every few months, and new trends, there is no time to attend formal training programs. Communication and marketing professionals have to rely on their innate ability to learn and embrace the new trends, or risk missing a valuable opportunity to promote their services/products.
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People with high learning agility and a drive to succeed in their career have the following characteristics: