There are many different metrics and ways to predict success in future careers, but in the end everyone find errors in these metrics. Marshall Goldsmith suggests that a better predictor of future potential is learning agility. He defines learning agility as the ability to learn from experience with speed and flexibility. They found that learning agile individuals practiced disciplined personal development in five ways:
Being able to adapt to change and challenge the status quo is something that will be very helpful to foreseeing career potential. Agile learners are challenging the status quo and looking for several options that will have low short-term and long-term implications. If you do not feel you are currently an agile learner there are many ways that you can boost this learning agility. Challenge yourself to come up with new solutions to things even when there are established and trusted ones already. Take every circumstance as if there was nothing holding you back from trying something different and approach all situations from a different angle than what is the norm.
Agile learners are able to perform under pressure. Picking up on subtle cues to build a better understanding of the problem is something they are good at. They are not going to be stressing out and doing whatever task comes to mind first, they are the ones that are going to plan out a schedule and execute the tasks individually. For example, with the nights that you are loaded with homework, instead of doing whatever assignment you are thinking of at that exact moment, you will think about all of your homework and plan accordingly. Once you have the big picture you will decide what is the most important and what homework you need to get done first.
Agile learners are ones who are reflecting on what is going on. If you have a new experience, it does not mean that you learned anything from that. Individuals learn about things when they reflect on what they have done. For example, when in class you can listen to every lecture but still not understand all of the information right away. You have to reflect on the terminology and look at how you can relate to this context. By reflecting and relating you truly understand the content.
Taking risks is what makes people grow. Agile learners are continually challenging themselves to become better by taking risks and working through hard circumstances. Out of the five facets of learning agility people think risk-taking is the hardest to use. Many people are not going to take risks in a position that they do not feel comfortable in, but it is those people that take the risk and succeed that find benefit.
5. Not defending
Defensiveness is not something you want to have in the work place. When looking at metrics it is the leaders that rate high on the defending scale that are rated as less effective leaders.
Now that you know what it takes to be an agile learner, rate yourself. Go through each of the five facets and see if you would be considered an agile learner. If you do not think you are an agile learner, start working on practicing the ideas above to become a better candidate. Having all of these qualities will help you when it comes to standing out from other candidates for a job.