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Identify the characteristics of the agility skill.

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Developing Effective Teams

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what's covered
This section will explore agility by discussing:

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"Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent."
text-align: right;>-Bill Gates

The only constant in the modern world is change. Most of us deal with it every day. There’s construction along your usual drive home. Your schedule gets hit with unexpected meetings. All your plans are upended when your child gets sick. The question isn’t if you will have to deal with change, but rather how well can you handle change when it happens?

Change has become the new normal, which is why we look for—and hold onto—people with a highly developed agility skill. These people are flexible when things don’t go as planned. They keep their cool, learn how to handle new situations, and maintain a “glass-half-full” attitude as they adapt. They often anticipate shifts before they happen and are comfortable initiating change in the first place to improve their job performance (O’Donnell, 1).

Change can seem scary because, oftentimes, it is! It’s normal to want to embrace what’s comfortable or to think that if something has worked in the past, there’s no reason to do things differently now. But, without change, we can’t get where we want to go.

'Agility' is the ability to embrace change and effectively adapt in a continually changing environment to achieve desired results.

Because technology is rapidly changing, employees need to be willing to learn and adapt to new situations and software. But it’s not just technology that causes changes—outsourcing, downsizing, mergers, and a general feeling of ambiguity means that our people need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

To get outside of your comfort zone and embrace change, you need to start with the right mindset. A mindset is a set of beliefs or a way of thinking. People with a fixed mindset believe their abilities and qualities are fixed and cannot change, while people with a growth mindset believe their talents and qualities can grow over time with hard work. Agility starts with a growth mindset because, in order to respond to change in challenging or uncertain situations, you have to believe you can persevere. By developing your agile mindset, by believing you can respond to change and succeed, you’ll be better equipped to actually do so in the future.

term to know

Agility is the ability to embrace change and effectively adapt in a continually changing environment to achieve desired results.

Source: O'Donnell, R. (September 17, 2019). The “New Rules” of Employability Demand Agility, Determination. Retrieved from


This video introduces a courageous woman who left a comfortable career as an attorney to find a job where she can use her passion for animals.


A large part of your agility skill is remaining calm in the face of change. Because modern workplaces tend to be in a constant state of flux, it’s important not to panic every time a new change rears its head. Instead, you need to find a way to roll with the changes and still perform successfully.

Someone with a well-honed agility skill displays:

  • Optimism—you believe that change is an opportunity for growth.
  • Adaptability—you recognize that change is necessary to move forward, so you embrace it, modifying your behavior as you go to achieve your goals. 
  • Supportiveness—you don’t complain about new initiatives, especially in front of peers. If you do have serious concerns, they should be made in private to your manager.
  • Proactivity—you use initiative to seek out areas to grow and improve.
  • Resilience—you don’t become overwhelmed and can cope when plans shift. 
  • Inquisitiveness—you look for new information so you can anticipate future changes. 
  • Flexibility—you take suggestions and adjust appropriately.
When faced with change, your agility skill helps you discover what’s happening, decide how to respond, change your behaviors, and measure your performance. Not every change will be for the better, but by quantifying your results, you can learn what is and isn’t working and can continue to make and suggest refinements as necessary.

Remember, someone who undermines change efforts and ignores, avoids, blocks, complains, or speaks negatively or gossips about change but does not speak to those in authority, is showing signs of not being agile. Take a positive outlook on change, and you are one step closer to being the kind of employee that organizations look for.


This one pager gives some tips and tricks for becoming more agile.

Terms to Know

Agility is the ability to embrace change and effectively adapt in a continually changing environment to achieve desired results.