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When we think of special forces teams in the military, we often think of agile teams ready to quickly address issues to ensure a successful mission. However, these highly trained units typically include cross-functional experts and no officers. These teams make on-the-ground decisions to adapt and evolve as circumstances dictate. The development of employees who have multiple skill sets, similar to individuals in special forces, is critical for success in a workplace rife with change and turmoil.
We define agility in Leadership is Upside Down as the capacity to read changing conditions in our environment and the ability to adjust to them rapidly. Success in today’s business environment, where product lifecycles now last months rather than years, depends on developing high levels of agility in our people. An agile team will accomplish more in a shorter time frame because its members see opportunities and create plans, constantly adapting as needed.1
To develop agility, we must first step back and look at what influences agility. The ability to think fast and make decisions on the fly is nothing new, but we need a fundamental shift to truly address how to develop high levels of agility.
Intuition, or the gut feelings we experience, often leads us to make better decisions. Honing our intuitive abilities will also increase our agility, as we will be able to plan and re-prioritise as new realities arise. Developing agility reduces costs, increases profitability and increases customer satisfaction and loyalty. We can encourage an entrepreneurial spirit and promote a “fail quickly and try again” mindset.2
Uncertainty can be mind-numbing--literally! Understanding the natural reactions our brain has to uncertainty and the fight-or-flight response can help us to combat these reflexes. Our brains have an enormous capacity to change, and knowing our brains are capable should give us confidence that we can lead people through their (and our own) inherent resistance to change.
Perhaps the biggest test of change in the future of leadership and world will be artificial intelligence. Despite what people fear, a report by ManpowerGroup found many employers feel automation will actually increase the number of jobs, although some positions are safer than others. Leaders who can quickly adapt to these new technologies will forge the future of leadership. People with certain skill sets will be increasingly in demand, while those who refuse to embrace new methods will experience stagnating wages and job insecurity.3
There’s a never-ending ocean of techniques out there.
The key to remaining agile in a workforce shared with AI is to become a lifelong learner. It’s more than what we know in the Imagination Age; we must also consider what we can learn.
Having the proper mindset to embrace growth and change will increase engagement, improving agility and how we interact with others (including robots!). We should expect to transition to other roles as the situation demands, and people who can successfully do so will lead the way into a new era of work.4
Leaders who wish to stay relevant in today’s workplace must increase agility, and you can explore how the brain can grow and transform to meet these challenges in the film, Make Me A Leader.
While it can be difficult to stifle fear and the sense of being afraid of such rapid changes, we can learn how to reset our brains to welcome new experiences, instead of freezing or even running away from them.
The i4 Neuroleader Model can help you improve the elements underlying agility if you are serious about your personal development. Unlocking agility in ourselves and our teams is a great way to create a culture of excitement, one that is inclusive and open to new possibilities.Learn more about the interactions between your brain and gut by reading: “The Neurobiology of Intuition-Becoming an Agile Leader”.
Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute
Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.
Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.
Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership
In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.
Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.
Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.