You have no doubt been hearing the term “agile” for quite some time now. It is one of the most highly valued and popular concepts in the workplace today, especially for project-focused businesses. Organizations can use agile methodologies to manage projects in a way that results in more successful outcomes, and many change management experts will tell you that when it comes to managing change, it is an in-demand skill.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when the future is so uncertain, understanding agile concepts and being able to put them into practice is an asset to any professional when it comes to adapting to rapidly changing circumstances and opening up new opportunities for individuals and organizations. And, while reading about agile methodologies can certainly provide some background to this way of working, there is no substitute for attending a training course.
Training is critical for developing agile capabilities within an organization, because agile is less about tools and more about a culture shift, and a culture shift requires a planned approach from the learning and development (L&D) team. Even more importantly, for this culture change to be widespread, L&D leaders must instill an ethos of agility and adaptability into every training and development session.
There are many training courses on the market teaching agile methodologies and tools, but the agile philosophy — of empowering teams to take responsibility and produce quickly in order to identify problems early — can be used as a business strategy in all areas of an organization. Being agile means having the ability to be able to evolve or adapt to changing circumstances quickly. With that in mind, let’s take a look at seven characteristics that can make training professionals — and others — more agile.
1. Able to Change Direction
Being able to change and adapt is vital. In some cases, this adaptability might mean being prepared to start using a new technology — for example, using video conferencing apps to deliver online courses when face-to-face training became impossible earlier this year. Technology moves at such an incredible rate that even training professionals were learning something new as they adapted to delivering online sessions after lockdowns began. Not only did they have to ensure their training materials were of high quality, but they also needed to be comfortable using new technology and ensure that learners were, too.
2. Listening Skills
If you are not taking the time to listen to others, you will not be able to drive positive outcomes. For example, requesting feedback is a common way to improve course content and delivery in face-to-face training; now, organizations have the added dimension of learning whether the software they are using for training is meeting learners’ and trainers’ needs. Take note of feedback, and be prepared to pivot to a different platform if needed.
Agile professionals share knowledge with colleagues, both within their company and in the broader industry, and break down ranks and divisions so that everyone can share ideas. Share knowledge with, and listen to, your colleagues in the training industry to improve your skill set, learn about new trends and a approaches, and improve your ability to deliver training.
Adopting a proactive approach will help you create a culture where agility, fast thinking and quick decision-making are the norm. A proactive environment enables employees to become more self-motivated and disciplined. Being more proactive might mean adopting different solutions, altering course content or using different training materials.
5. Communication Skills
We all know how important communication is in the workplace, particularly when it comes to dealing with change. Being agile means communicating ideas quickly and efficiently by, for example, reviewing regular meeting cadences and the forms of communication being used. Good software can help everyone stay up to date, but don’t underestimate the power of a real conversation — even if it has to be by phone or video call.
Sometimes, in an agile workplace, it can be easy to lose control of time management. Everyone must be disciplined enough to keep to the timelines set within the relative freedom of an adaptable, agile way of working. Time management, therefore, should still be an important element of an agile organization.
7. Continuous Learning
There is always something new to learn, no matter how long you have been in a role or how much experience you have. When faced with new challenges, i is important to adapt. Keeping abreast of new developments in the training industry will help keep you at the top of your game and give you the knowledge that you need to be as adaptable as possible. There are always opportunities to learn — so embrace them when they present themselves.