“Agility is a core competency – it is the capability to respond in a satisfactory manner to change, uncertainty and unpredictability in the wider business environment.” Paul T. Kidd
Now before you pack your things to run after the circus and become a trapeze artist, let’s consider what’s so important about being agile. Let’s take the example of Phillip. He’s prepared a resume with all of the things that he did at his last job. A job coach tries to work with him suggesting a more contemporary format, something that will display his skills to impress recruiters. But Phillip is caught in a rut; he can only continue to explain that’s what he did, why would he change it? Phillip doesn’t realize that employers are looking to see the results of what you did, not just a list of tasks.
Now don’t think I’m referring to Agile Leadership which has been around a few years and describes a method of leadership that shows a propensity and ability to move into action and make decisions. Of course it’s a very good thing and so is Agile Software Development which enables businesses to react quickly to market unpredictability. There are Agile conferences and leadership networks that focus businesses on finding solutions to common problems through a project management process that is more flexible than what has existed in the past.
I’m talking about what agile means for your personal brand in how you convey your worth to the market. We are all in a market whether we are in job search mode or not. We need to respond quickly to the world around us that is ever-changing. So the term agile is referring to the flexibility you can demonstrate on the job or in your career search. It refers to the quick way you are able to tailor your resume to the job posting, or your deft ability in answering a tough interview question. It can even describe how you are able to adapt to the demands of a changing organization. Haven’t we all been in situations where we see a shift in company priorities? Those who are artful enough to recognize subtle changes have a better chance at moving forward.
Take the case of Lorraine, a successful head of a subsidiary for years who continues doing everything the same way despite extensive changes in the parent organization. The new leadership is expecting her to adapt to new processes, but somehow she ignores the message feeling her past work is not respected. As time goes on, Lorraine starts to be perceived as someone who is not on the team and resisting the natural evolution.
So what can you do to be more agile? It’s defined as the power of moving quickly and easily; nimbleness. You can stay in tune with the market if you are looking for your next opportunity. Read up on new fields, new companies, and new skills to acquire. If you are inside a company, pay attention to what the organization is saying it needs. Think about what issues are of critical importance and try to assist and support these areas. You may not have to take ballet lessons for your personal brand to become agile, but you would do well to keep it on its toes.