How can you be more ‘agile’ at work?

Published: Jul 31, 2018

agile at work

Agility. This professional buzzword is one of the most popular, highly valued workplace concepts today, and hiring managers are in constant search for “agile” employees that will create “agile” organizations. Being agile in 2018 is obviously an asset, not only for employers or companies but also as part of your individual skill set and resume.

But what exactly does it mean to be “agile” today? An individual or an organization is “agile” when they’re able to quickly adapt or evolve in response to changing circumstances. Being able to break down barriers in the workplace in order to meet changing business needs, advancements, or technologies is essential for any agile team.

Here are 8 characteristics that will make you more agile at work:

1. You’re not afraid to change course.

At the heart of being agile is the ability to change and adapt based on what’s happening around you – whether that’s the needs of your customer or consumer, changing technology, a rapidly evolving marketplace or workforce, fluctuating funding, industry trends, or breakthroughs.

2. You’re a listener.

Agile professionals listen to people, trends, markets, and then respond or strategize accordingly. If you’re not listening closely to what’s going on in your field or your industry, then you won’t be able to change course and meet rapidly changing business needs. 

3. You collaborate.

Being agile is all about sharing knowledge with your coworkers and industry colleagues and not needing to “own” every idea, project, or task. An agile work environment seeks to break down hierarchical power structures and unnecessary barriers so that everyone is free to explore, create, experiment, and drive positive outcomes.

4. You’re proactive.

If your organization values agility in its employees, they will likely create a culture of agility that supports quick decision-making and fast thinking. This type of environment enables autonomy and empowers its employees to act quickly by removing unnecessary obstacles to progress and innovation. Be prepared to take advantage of that autonomy by being disciplined, self-motivated, and proactive.

5. You’re a communicator.

Being nimble at work requires an acute responsiveness and openness to optimize your strategy or approach based on a number of changing factors. In order to make this a successful approach, you should be able to communicate your strategies or approach quickly, accurately, and effectively.

6. You are disciplined.

When an organization creates a culture of agility, there is often less oversight on things like time management or daily/weekly tasks and more of a focus larger outcomes and bigger projects or deadlines. You need to possess enough self-discipline to reach targeted goals even if your performance isn't being tracked at every step.

7. You are resilient.

The best agile professionals are also the most resilient, bringing on-the-spot solutions to any challenges or roadblocks. Rather than get discouraged by problems that arise, agile professionals immediately start strategizing and collaborating for quick work-arounds that address the issue as soon as it arises.

8. You’re a lifelong learner.

Being adaptable also requires keeping up and learning new skills, technologies, or approaches as needed. One of your most valuable assets as an agile professional is your ability to keep growing and expanding your knowledge base, using new skills and information to respond to whatever comes up in real time.

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