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What is Mental, Learning Agility in GREEN?

What one element will give your organization a distinct edge in today's business environment? And what is specific to GREEN?

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Every time I watch a travelogue of some far away place like Katmandu or Australia or even England it amazes me how "diverse" human beings are. How in the world do we devise so many customs, costumes, foods, tools, buildings ... and ways to organize ourselves socially?

That's humanity! And that's why our increasingly global civilization (business, community and family) requires continual learning and mental agility...

Mental, Learning Agility Rated Top Executive Leadership Attribute

Management is about people. Awareness. Understanding. Skills. Relationships.

A recent survey by management consulting firm RHR International finds that a majority of senior executives asked to name the most critical characteristic or behavior for successful future leaders cited some form of mental or learning agility.

Rather than looking just for high IQs or demonstrations of pure mental horsepower, these leaders want individuals who can grasp the complexities of unfamiliar, ambiguous situations with a speed that truly sets them apart from their peers.

Bring an open-minded approach to problem solving and grasp the complexities of unfamiliar, ambiguous situations with a speed that truly sets them apart from their peers.
You've probably heard the old joke ... "Be just fast enough to outrun the person beside you ... not the bear ;-)" That's competition as usual. That's not the change leader needed in the green challenges facing us. TODAY's green leader needs to be able to "tame the bear"!

If there is any change challenge that requires the ability to deal with "unfamiliar, ambiguous situations"... it is the new green economy!

Organizational HR Leadership Development

"Assessment for intellectual agility should be part of every company's executive development program, whether for CEO selection, succession planning or accelerating the effectiveness of executives in their current roles," says Jeff Durocher, Vice President of Market Development for RHR International.

"Even individuals who initially score at the lower levels can improve their performance with guidance and direction," he adds.

How Companies are Growing Future Leaders

RHR uncovered several noteworthy trends:

  • Most companies are not very confident they can meet future growth needs.
  • Talent development is still a project in many companies, not a way of doing business.
  • Companies are seeking to develop leaders who have the courage to make the “right” decisions and who get business done by building strong relationships and inspiring others to drive necessary change.
  • Managers of future leaders will play a critical role in development, but most companies are not prepared to fully leverage this resource.
  • Uncovering best practices continues to be a challenge, in part because most companies still struggle to measure the effectiveness of their leadership development practices.

Taking Responsibility for Growing Your Own Future Leadership Quotient

Most green companies are small. Under ten employees. That usually means that individuals rise to the top who handle their OWN leadership development. And they are the ones who ask question, find answers, and make proposals for good projects that further the organization's mission.

But where do you start? Here are a few suggestions to start you thinking about what has high ROI in your community of practice.

  • Discern and communicate "Best practices"
  • Identify the range of "Emotional and Intellectual Motivations" of individuals in your community
  • Test communication methods (keywords, stories, channels etc) and track success rates
  • Practice project management strategies that fit differing goals and groups

And don't overwhelm yourself! Or others!

The old KISS rule still applies (Keep It Simple Silly). But green ISN't simple... so leaders need to learn mental agility to observe the "next step" needed by a specific person or group... and devise a simple system that helps them succeed at what's important to THEM.

When you track your progress in making that happen... you are taking charge of your own leadership development. You will know yourself. And you will develop the mental agility to get to know the people you are with -- whether they are in Los Angeles, Syndey or Bangkok.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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