The Constant Growth Mindset And Agility

Constant Growth Fibonnaci stained glass on a golden wire field
Constant Growth and Agility

“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”

S. R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Many organizations are facing a wave of change because of new emerging technologies. Advanced technologies like AI, IoT, blockchain, augmented reality, and RPA strongly impact the labour market. About 60% of jobs can be automated and the software market is constantly growing and so does the skill gap that negatively impacts the organizations’ capability to implement new technological developments. Staying competitive has become a survival competition related to implementing new tech.

Since 2001 when the Agile Manifesto was launched as a methodology in the IT organisations, agility practices have been continuously revitalised and embraced by other industries, particularly financial services and healthcare. Most known agile practices like Scrum, Kanban, and Lean are being adopted across organisations. Agility methodologies are reinterpreting organizational responses, market orientation, and social computing. These principles characterized by a continuous learning mindset, flexibility, adaptability and knowledge sharing are becoming largely accepted as a strategic organisational strategy.

The Constant growth mindset learning trend

In a report about 2020 learning trends among the skills most needed is the growth mindset defined as the ability to learn continuously and the willingness to adapt to change. Learning new skills is the first thing to do to adapt and survive in a constantly changing environment. More IT companies adopt agile methodology to face the changes and stay competitive.

The growth mindset learning trend is maintained for 2024. A recent report about learning and development includes generative AI, emotional intelligence and the growth mindset, as the 3 main skill sets important for 2024 in building the future workforce.

What is the Agility concept?

Agility relates to fast movements and alignment to changes in the environment. Seeing organizations as agile organisms makes continuous learning a strategic measure that strengthens the growth mindset. Technologies like machine learning, and augmented and virtual reality improved the learning experience personalization.

Being agile is also about fast adaptation to changing situations and involves working and reacting with an appropriate speed. Agility is a personal trait that relates to making decisions and is a combination of flexibility, adaptability, speed and the ability to anticipate and integrate upcoming changes.

Also, how we make decisions for our future is an important variable in becoming agile as professionals. If we try to coordinate our actions and adapt our responses to these changing situations, we are already on our way to becoming agile. When we make future investment decisions in learning new skills, we need to manage the time and costs we spend or don’t spend learning. The easiest way to change the odds and remain competitive is to learn new skills.

Agile, fast responses, adaptation to changes and flexibility

The agility concept applies to both mental and body health and sharpness. It is used in sports and nature wildness. In sports, agility relates to fast physical movements and rapid mental reactions. Studies show that the higher the complexities of tasks the harder it is for us to be agile. Agility performance expressed by agility time, decreased when associated cognitive demands increased. To master ability our behaviours and course of actions should reach a level comparable with that of an athlete. 

Agility requires quick responses and adaptation to our environmental changes and rhythm. So, being an agile team player implies that our skills involved in agility like the speed of reaction and mental acuity should reach higher levels. Easily switching between different mindsets and solving complex situations with a deep understanding and certainty is a behaviour that also shows agility.

New trends and different career paths

Likewise, organisational agility is equivalent to iterative development, continuous feedback, and adaptive practices. The agile approach favours cross-functional teams bringing together diverse skills and working on specific projects with different perspectives that iterate faster and respond to market changes effectively.

So, an agile organization is like a living and growing organism constantly learning and adapting to new circumstances. We can only aim to imitate these complex biological systems and inspire from their principles and methods.

Even before the Agile Manifesto, some jobs involved responsibilities meant to apply these principles under different forms like waterfall methodology. Several new career pathways have been created since then. Most known jobs that involve and use agile practices are Agile Coach, Scrum Master, Product Manager, Product Owner, and even Project Manager.

An agile walk on new career pathways

Since agility has conquered the organisational environments, the job market has different job titles involving agile. From training on the agility frameworks to roles were created to implement and maintain this approach. At the current date, a simple search on Indeed reveals that there are approximately 16.616 jobs involving agile knowledge in the US and about 8.025 in the UK, 2006 in France, 1950 in the Netherlands and 930 in Spain.

Becoming career agile is necessary to progressively sharpen our competencies and remain aligned with the demands of the changing environment. Nature has always set examples for adaptation and evolution. We can barely imitate the intelligence and adaptability of biological organisms from nature. Living organisms like simple molecules are incredibly complex. They not only survive by reacting fast to rapid changes, and integrating new ones, but they thrive and are an inspiration for us.

Learn to integrate the new AI tools and soft skills

There are long-term changes in job markets due to automation, new work dynamics, digitization, automation, remote work, and tech innovation. This creates environments requiring new job creation in the new digital and green economies. So, one pathway to face these challenges is to become agile and learn to integrate the new AI tools in our daily routine tasks and polish our soft skills that AI tech cannot imitate, or at least not yet like, active listening, empathy, and creativity.  

So, an agile organization should be like a learning living organism, constantly growing and adapting to new circumstances. In such an environment, learning new skills would increase the possibilities for us to thrive and become more agile. Not having the right skill set limits employability prospects and access to new jobs.

There are a lot of free learning resources to use, but it seems that our time has become the most valuable and expensive learning resource of all. Let’s hope that “Where there is a Will, there’s a Way”. In such ever-changing environments, lifelong learning skills increase the possibilities for us to thrive and become more agile.