If you haven’t seen the word ‘agile’ appear on your LinkedIn feed, in industry publications or even on your own meeting agendas – I’d be amazed. Going agile really has been a big focus over the last few years for businesses and business leaders.
So, what is it about ‘agile’ that has created such a buzz in the business world?
The definition of an agile organisation is one that is resilient and responds quickly to change – that’s pretty much a necessity for businesses wanting to succeed in the current VUCA climate, and with the fourth industrial revolution at our doorsteps.
Recent research into the benefits of agile organisations only accelerates the desire to go ‘agile’ further. According to the 12th state of agile report, agile organisations have increased their team productivity by 49%, their business and digital alignment by 61% and their ability to manage changing priorities by 71%.
It’s clear that a lot of businesses want to (and are trying to) embrace agile, but unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward. VersionOne surveyed over 1400 businesses who are currently undergoing agile transformation, and only 25% claim to have developed fully agile teams. That means 75% still have a long way to go before they start reaping the benefits of an agile organisation.
This is where I think L&D comes in.
Learning and development could be the secret ingredient businesses need to succeed in their agile transformation. 53% of organisations found the biggest challenge to be misalignment with agile values and organisational culture, and according to McKinsey, one of the five trademarks of an agile organisation is the ability to learn and learn rapidly.
If more L&D departments start to focus on helping the business to go agile, they really could make all the difference. Here are a few ways L&D could help organisations with their agile journey:
Creating a culture of continuous learning within your organisation is crucial if your business wants to be able to learn rapidly and respond to change. By creating a culture where learning is part of the day-to-day work, your learners will be ready and prepared to learn the skills that will help propel the business into the future. A culture of hungry learners can also help to keep talented people onside, promote a mindset of high performance and align learning with the business – all of which are crucial for agile transformation.
Taking a strategic approach to how the business communicates with its people is an essential part of implementing a successful organisational change. If your learners are aware of why the business is going agile, how it might affect them, and what they can do to support the change, they are more likely to get behind the transformation. Learning professionals can take the initiative to support their business leaders in delivering open and honest communication with their people, whether that’s as simple as being available to answer questions honestly or holding regular forums to encourage an open dialogue.
Digital really is a crucial component of any agile learning offering. When set up correctly, it can be adaptable and flexible enough to suit the changing needs of your business and your learners. In particular, eLearning can offer a wide range of benefits for larger, more complex organisations who are undergoing major change – it’s scalable, flexible, and can offer a changing workforce a learning solution they access at the point of need, whenever and wherever they are.
It’s clear that agile is here to stay. It’s up to us in L&D to support businesses in their agile transformation, so they can become a resilient organisation, able to rapidly adapt and embrace change – both of which are crucial elements of success in the current business climate.
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Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
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