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Successfully Agile: 5 Key Traits for Your People to Support an Agile Organisation

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

Agility is a term that we are starting to see around more often these days. You may ask yourself, as I did when I first heard this term, what does agility mean when it comes to organisations? Organisational agility simply refers to the ability of a business to adapt itself and succeed in a rapidly changing or challenging environment, like the situation that is currently at hand. Can a business gather relevant information, adapt to the current set of circumstances given and continue to thrive?

Businesses are boasting their ability to be flexible and embrace change. However, as we have seen from the recent circumstances, businesses can struggle when change arises. The recent shock to the system businesses have faced recently means that leaders need to assess the attitude of individuals within their organisation, seeing if they have the mindset to adapt along with the business whilst keeping their morale and productivity high.

What qualities do we look for in agile individuals? What do leaders need to be looking for when assessing their team? Based on Dale Carnegie research, we have identified 5 key traits that individuals need in order to be agile along with their organisation.

Positive Perceptions of Change

Change is inevitable. Plenty of people say they aren’t resistant to change, yet they see it as a challenge they would not rather face. What is familiar is comfortable right? However, what we want is individuals who view change as an opportunity for growth.

For change to be viewed in a positive light, we need individuals to experience change on a personal level. This doesn’t mean they need to change everything about themselves, it just means they might need to shift their perspective on change and the benefits it can bring.

Opportunity and Growth Mindset

As I mentioned, change is an opportunity for growth, and whilst having a receptive attitude towards change is vital, we also need to be proactive in our own personal development. As more research is published and technology continues to become more of an influence in our daily routine, we must seek out knowledge and continue to seek out opportunities to learn. Ask yourself, how willing am I to pick up new skills? Having the attitude and initiative to continually add to your repertoire will make you an asset to any organisation that values agility.


Resilience is similar to having an opportunity focused mindset. The nature of resilience requires accepting risk, making decisions without all of the answers. For example; adapting a business model to accommodate a team working remotely, being unsure of how your business can survive remotely rather than from one single location. However, the rewards can be significant and the business can continue to thrive under these circumstances. Dale Carnegie himself tells us that the key to becoming successful is to “develop success from failures”. He reasons this with “Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to success”.

Communication and Collaboration

When you’re playing on a team, you can only succeed if you communicate constantly. As the old saying goes, ‘there is no I in team’, the only way you can succeed is together. Sharing information and listening to each other is a cornerstone of organisational agility. Collaborating and supporting one another is crucial in achieving your common goal and for the team to thrive.

Social Intelligence

Social intelligence is almost a combination of these other qualities mentioned above, it’s a very human quality. Social intelligence refers to one’s ability to cope with challenging social contexts, understand others on an emotional level and knowing how to communicate with others in order to build and maintain positive relationships. This quality is essential

to the success of organisational agility, being socially intelligent is integral to effectively communicating and collaborating with your colleagues as well as your clients. Those with strong social intelligence are able to quickly connect and build trust with people around them, which also makes it easier for them to navigate tricky social situations, influence others and foster cooperation.

Agility is a topic that is constantly evolving, to learn about how you can implement Agility into your organisation, read our Agility Whitepaper ‘The New Competitive Divide: Building the Foundation for Organisational Agility’ here:

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