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, disrupt every level of society and every industry. The interplay between 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 doing routine and repetitive jobs. It is causing widespread disruption to business models and labor markets across the globe.

Companies have to build ongoing long-term human resources strategies to identify future business needs and develop a future-ready talent pool. 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 easily 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 skillsets like specialists, leaders, and future executives who can adapt and adjust to new positions and job functions easily, learn new information quickly, unlearn old behavior, and be flexible in moving across different ideas and understandings swiftly, should be a vital consideration in sourcing and selecting high potential talent who can 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 human skills to thrive in the job market of the future. The following skills, as suggested by the WEF, are some of the most desired skills for the workplace of today and the future:

  1. Complex problem solving  

– The ability to gather the information needed to analyze an issue and use strategic planning to resolve it

2. Cognitive flexibility / adaptability

– To adjust your work habits to fit a different job or task quickly and easily

3. Critical thinking / analysis / reasoning

– To collect information and data, ask thoughtful questions, and analyze possible solutions

 – To effectively categorize information into small groups to better interpret data and make accurate conclusions

 – Reasoning is the ability to proceed from hypothesis to conclusion logically and sensibly

4. Creativity / ideation

– To develop new ideas, increase efficiency, and devise solutions to complex problems

– Ideation, is regarded as creativity, the ability to come up with new ideas and ways of doing, testing the ideas, and thus solving problems

5. Innovation

– To produce new and improved strategies, capabilities, processes and services

6. Initiative

– Initiative is the ability to recognize where and how to make improvements and create a plan to perform the improvement

7. Active / lifelong learning.

8. Emotional intelligence

– A skillset that helps you regulate your own emotions and understand and sympathize with others

9. Self-management => stress tolerance & resilience

      – The ability to control your thoughts, feelings, and actions. It includes being organized, ambitious, adaptable, and having the ability to manage your time and stress

10. Communication and resolving conflict

      – To effectively interpret meaning from written and spoken language as well as convey ideas effectively to others

11. Social-awareness and empathy

      – To be aware of other people’s feelings, needs, concerns, and perspectives. 

       – It means to be thoughtful and sensitive; to care about others and accurately read your environment

12. Leadership and social influence

– To effectively influence, inspire, and serve others toward achieving common goals

13. Digital literacy

      – Competent with technology and understanding terminology for social networks and mobile applications

14. Technology design

 – The ability to create, understand, and improve digital user experiences

15. Technology monitoring

– To remotely monitor and manage technology across distributed locations to make sure it’s online and functional at all times

The first seven skills can broadly be categorized as “brainpower” skillsets. The next five skills fit into the emotional intelligence (EI) framework. The last three skills are not human but technology-related.

Talent professionals have to develop a future talent pool to dispose of these skillsets. 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 to develop the Neuro Agility to learn, think, and draw conclusions fast, easily, and flexibly 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 that 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 human skillsets needed to thrive in a technologically advanced world.

Neuro Agility fills a gap in understanding 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. The framework provides a fresh, neuroscience approach to developing talent, improving performance, and reducing the risk of human errors and mistakes.

The Neuro Agility Community consists of a global group of practitioners, business partners, and users of Neuro Agility assessments and learning solutions to help people in business, education, and sports to develop neuro-agile people and organizations. We believe: “You can’t improve what you can’t measure”. Therefore, we offer Neuro Agility Profile® assessments and learning solutions to help people and organizations improve performance.  The Neuro Agility Profile® (NAP) assessments and learning solutions integrate easily with global talent selection, talent development, performance improvement, and learning practices.

Best practice – Implementing an organization-wide Neuro Agility strategy

  • Obtain support and commitment from the company’s leadership to incorporate Neuro Agility as part of the organization’s human resources strategies to develop a future-ready talent pool.
  • 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 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 learning cultures, 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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