Thursday, April 28, 2011

Exploring the Many Faces of Learning Agility - Part II

The most popular posting on this blog has been the piece I did on the different profiles of Learning Agility. It has been about a year since that post, so I thought it would be a good idea to do an update based on some more recent research we have done into the different profiles. Following are some key takeaways from some in-depth interviews we conducted with individuals belonging to different profiles. They provide a deeper glimpse into each profile and what differentiates that particular style of learning agility. More on this will be featured in an upcoming whitepaper that should hopefully come out in a month or two.

The Thought Leader: Making An Impact From The Wings
One of the Thought Leaders we spoke with had a role as a Communications Manager. She hated being in the spotlight and having to do her own public speaking but took a great pride in speech writing for executives and helping coach them towards success. A memorable success occureed when working with an executive who had previously has some rocky presentations and had low confidence. Through intense partnering, practice and feedback, the Thought Leader guided the executive toward making a standout presentation. The Thought Leader reflected that, "I would never want to be on stage giving the speech, but there is nothing more exciting than seeing a person whose speech you wrote get a high score or standing ovation. That person now wants to work with me again."

The Trailblazer: Results (But Not Necessarily) At Any Cost
Some Trailblazers have gained perspective on their hard-driving ways. While they can still get quite animated about results (especially when they aren't up to expectations), they have learned to moderate their style to get the best out of others voluntarily versus pushing them to extremes. Said one Trailblazer, "I have matured in my leadership style - I have learned to tap into what makes others tick and have been much more successful with that. In the past, during the first 15 years of my career, I would have been much more of a "jump on the train, or else..." kind of guy."

The Champion: Guerilla Business Strategy
It's one thing to take an idea and run with it, it's another to make it all your own and exceed everyone's expectations. The Champion has a pre-requisite however: "Leave me alone and let me do it." One interviewee relayed her assignment to start a new line of business in a very hard to break into space. She converted the "we've never done it, let's be conservative: attitude of her leaders into a call to action. She was energized by the challenge because no plan or process would get results; it required what she referred to as a "guerilla business strategy". In less than a year, her results were double her goal.