Develop inner agility

Tip Sheet


In an age of fast-paced technology that is changing at an even faster rate, the business world faces constant disruption and uncertainty – and those who lead the industry are responsible for guiding their companies through this digital transformation.

In an article from McKinsey & Co.’s McKinsey Quarterly, authors Sam Bourton, Johanne Lavoie and Tiffany Vogel discuss the “cognitive and emotional load” business leaders carry as they attempt to navigate their companies through a time of drastic change.

For a company to successfully adapt to disruption, its leaders must be comfortable and creative with uncertainty. Bourton, Vogel and Lavoie suggest five personal practices to develop this skill.

  1. Pause.
    Take a moment each day to stop thinking and stop doing. This will give the brain some space for sound judgment, free-flowing thoughts and efficient, yet intentional, decisions and actions.
  2. Ignorance is bliss.
    Listening, thinking and decision-making while surrounded by the unknown can lead to the birth of original ideas or major breakthroughs. Great ideas can come from unexpected places, especially if you recognize and use your ignorance to keep an open mind.
  3. Shake up your questions.
    When solving a problem or discerning a complex situation, change the nature of the questions you ask of yourself. Making a question more challenging, or even simplifying it, allows your brain to step out of its box and into a new, open space that will promote original ideas.
  4. It’s about the journey, not the destination.
    Ditch the mentality of figuratively moving from point A to point B and instead, pinpoint a general direction to work toward.
  5. Put your solutions, and yourself, to the test.
    There’s no time like the present to jump into this ever-evolving digital world. Think of yourself as a “living laboratory,” open to experiments and adapting to the environment, leading an agile, ever-changing company. This will help your current leadership responsibilities seem exciting and not so terrifying.

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