Developing neuro-agility is a key competence for people in organizations who want to future-proof their businesses against disruptive change. Rapidly changing technologies, coupled with data explosion and the heightened pace of change, will disrupt every level of society and in every industry. The interplay between fields like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, the internet of things, 3D printing, neuroscience, mobile networks, and computing will create previously unthinkable realities. Radical system-wide innovations can happen in short periods. Machines can learn, therefore putting artificial intelligence in direct competition with people who are doing routine and repetitive jobs. It will cause widespread disruption to business models and labor markets over the coming years.

Companies have to build ongoing long-term human resources strategies to identify future business needs and build a talent pool for the future. This calls for companies to plan for jobs that don’t exist now and recruit and develop high-potential talent to fill those positions. It requires sourcing and developing agile people who can learn, unlearn, relearn, and multi-skill fast and easy in uncharted territories.

People’s mental flexibility to learn from experience and apply the lessons from past experiences to improve future performance in new, first-time, stressful situations, will be crucial to their survival, progress, and competitiveness. The criteria to select high potential talent should therefore include people’s agility to learn and adapt to new roles fast and easily, as much as it does include qualifications, experience, and performance in prior roles.

Talent acquisition has become more important than ever before. To recruit and develop candidates for positions that require specific skill sets like specialists, leaders, and future executives who can adapt and adjust to new positions and job functions, learn new information quickly, unlearn old behavior and be flexible in moving across different ideas and understandings, should be a vital consideration in sourcing and selecting high potential talent who have the ability to thrive in complex problem-solving situations.

In a report: The Future of Jobs, the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts an enormous change in the most desirable skills to thrive in the job market of the future. The following skills, as suggested by the WEF, are the most desired skills for the workplace of today and the future:

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Coordinating with others
  6. Emotional Intelligence
  7. Judgement and decision making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility

Five of the top ten skills can broadly be categorized as “brainpower” skills and the latter five skills fall into the framework of emotional intelligence (EI) skills. Talent professionals will have to develop a future talent pool that will have to dispose of these skills. Organizations will also have to constantly hone these skills by developing these skills inside the organization. Just like a ballet dancer needs the agility to move quickly and easily, before executing her dancing skills with ease, speed, accuracy, and precision, workers will need the competence of neuro-agility to learn, think and draw conclusions fast, easy and flexible before executing their brain-mind skills with precision and efficiency.

Before people can be agile at learning, thinking, emotions, leadership, and how they perform in teams, they need to optimize the drivers that impact the ease and speed with which they learn, think and process information and integrate the brain-mind elements which determine their neurological design (also referred to as neuro-design) and impact their mental flexibility. Being able to optimize these brain-mind elements will enable people to be neuro agile, which is the starting point for developing a future talent pool that is competent at the most desired skills for today and the workplace of the future.

Neuro-agility fills a gap in our understanding of why some people learn, think and process information faster and are more flexible than others. The neuro-agility framework offers innovative solutions to identify people’s unique learning potential, increase their learning ability and optimize their learning agility. This framework provides a fresh, neuroscience approach to how to develop talent, improve performance and reduce the risk of human error. The Neuro Agility Community helps people in business, education, and sports to develop neuro-agile people. We believe: “You can’t improve what you can’t measure”. Therefore, we offer neuro-agility assessments and learning solutions to help our clients improve performance.  The Neuro Agility Profile™ (NAP) assessments and skill sets integrate easily with global talent selection, talent development, performance improvement, and learning practices.

Best practice – Implementing an organization-wide neuro-agility strategy

  • Get commitment and support from leadership to make neuro-agility, grounded in neuroscience, part of the organization’s human resources strategies to build a talent pool for the future.
  • Create and align a neuro-agility implementation strategy that integrates well with talent selection, talent management, wellness, reducing risk for human error, learning, and development, leadership development, and culture of learning development initiatives.
  • Create organizational awareness about the value of neuro-agility as a cornerstone for safeguarding the organization against disruptive change.
  • Create a personalized development plan (PDP) for every employee by doing a Neuro Agility Profile™ (NAP™) Advanced+ assessment:
    1. Measure the drivers that optimize brain performance and the neuro-design elements that influence their unique learning potential and mental flexibility;
    2. Debrief employees on their unique preferences, potential, mental flexibility, and brain fitness;
    3. Identify neuro-agility development needs and set goals and targets;
    4. Create individual personal development plans based on their NAP assessments;
    5. Provide neuro-agility development solutions – optimize drivers that impact their brain performance and neuro-flexibility;
    6. Keep employees accountable for implementing their PDPs.
  • Assimilate information from individual profiles and create team agility profiles as well as an overview of the organization’s overall level of neuro-agility.
  • Measure progress and results – do a Neuro Agility Profile™ post measurement.
  • Integrate, adjust and re-align the results with other agility interventions like developing emotional intelligence, learning agility, leadership agility, creating cultures of learning, and reducing risk for human errors.
  • Continuously improve and optimize.
  • Develop the most desired skills for the workplace of today and the future
  • Monitor, reinforce, reward, and recognize employee learning.

André Vermeulen

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