Kaya Consulting

Learning Agility: Beyond the Hype

The whole world seems enamoured with learning agility. It appears to be the foremost attribute that any manager or executive can possess.

The idea of Learning Agility for leadership in the 21st century is the hallmark of many leading business school executive programs.The assumption is that the contemporary leader requires a willingness and ability to learn and apply new knowledge in different and challenging leadership contexts.

Whilst this is an important capability, does a one size fits all approach for understanding and acquiring learning agile leaders truly resonate across all sectors? This conversation is an important one. The old saying of “having the right people, with the right abilities, in the right place, at the right time” has never been more applicable than now.


“Learning agility equals leadership success”

“The most in-demand business skill of the 21st century”


Research supports all the claims that learning agility is critical for leadership success. De Meuse’s (2017) latest research indicates that there is a robust relationship between learning agility and leadership effectiveness and potential. Typical successful managers demonstrate skills such as critical and strategic thinking, understanding others to ensure they work effectively, chasing change while being highly motivated to get things done, being mindful of their environment, seeking and responding to feedback with a solid understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses. These traits are all facets of learning agility.

Living in a VUCA world, successful leaders need to be willing and able to learn quickly and then to apply those lessons to perform well in new and challenging leadership situations. This is exactly what learning agility is. Therefore it is clear that highly learning agile leaders will thrive in the VUCA world. However, companies need all types of talent and professional experts play an equal important role in the success of organisations.

For organisations to identify their learning agile leaders, the TALENTx7 assessment of Learning Agility is an excellent tool to use. The assessment was developed by Ken de Meuse and it measures seven facets of learning agility that is encompassed in the following model: (Insert LA model). This tool is instrumental in identifying both your learning agile leaders as well as your professional experts which enables organisations to build two talent pipelines for the future.

The TALENTx7 is a self-assessment which ensures that survey fatigue is not a factor. It was scientifically developed and validated by Ken de Meuse, probably the world’s expert on learning agility who was recently awareded a fellowship by the American Psychological Association for his contributions to IO Psychology and learning agility in particular. The TALENTx7 adjusts for social desirability of respondent and has an overall Accuracy Index that provides assurance that results are accurate. It assesses 7 different facets of learning agility with an explicit measure of the degree of self-awareness. Currently the TALENTx7 is the only assessment on the market to assess Environmental Awareness and Feedback Responsiveness. Kaya is the sole distributor of this tool in Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

There are a number of tools in the market lately that claims to measure learning agility. As an organisation, it is important to be a savvy shopper and to complete your due diligence prior to committing to a specific tool. Request the technical manual and scrutinise the research, making sure validity, reliability and adverse impact are addressed.

Identifying your learning agile leaders and professional experts in a scientific manner, ensures that CEO’s and talent professionals can sleep well at night with the assurance that their talent pipelines are taken care of.


So, what type of talent does your organisation wish to attract, develop and retain? Is an assessment of learning agility right for your company?