Leading Self

Master Learning Agility

This activity will introduce a team to the concept of learning agility and some tips on how to practice learning agility at work as an individual or on a team. Learning agility is not about studying skills. Instead, it is a leadership mindset about being open to new ways of thinking and intentionally learning new skills. In an organizational context, learning agility enables teams and individuals to continuously learn, improve, and adapt.

For more information about Mastering Learning Agility, click here to read the corresponding section in the Playbook.


30-60 mins

Group Size


Skill Level


Comfort Level



Flip Chart, Markers

Step 1

On a flip chart, write the question: “What is learning agility?” Ask participants to share ideas. Write down the key ideas that emerge on the flip chart, capturing key phrases. Paraphrase verbally before writing down to confirm that you understood. Once you have a list of definitions, summarize them verbally and move to the next question.

On a second piece of flipchart paper, write the question: “What is the benefit of learning agility in the nonprofit workplace?” Ask participants to share ideas. Write down the key ideas that emerge on the flip chart, capturing key phrases. Paraphrase verbally before writing down. Once you have a list of benefits, summarize them verbally (10 minutes).

Step 2

Distribute a print copy of the “Learning Agility Assessment” and tell participants they are going to use the assessment to reflect on their own learning agility. Remind participants that according to research, learning agility in the workplace is comprised of four key enablers and one barrier (if you want to know more about the research, read this white paper). Ask participants to quietly reflect on the questions and determine if they already embody learning agility in their work or if it is an area they can improve.

Step 3

Ask participants to raise their hand if they mostly identify with A questions and go to one side of the room. Of the participants left, ask those who identified with the B questions to pair up with someone who identified with mostly A questions. Don’t worry if the pairs don’t line up perfectly; it is okay for two B’s or A’s to pair up.

Step 4

Once participants are in pairs, let them to decide who should go first. The first person in the pair will ask the other person these questions:

  • In what area are you already embodying the qualities of learning agility?
  • How has learning agility served you in your work or career?
  • What are some qualities of learning agility that you want to improve and why?

The second person will have three minutes to answer these questions. After the second person answers, the first person will offer feedback for three minutes. The pairs will reverse roles and repeat the exercise for another three minutes. Time each three-minute segment, indicating when participants should speak or listen, and when to switch roles.

Step 5

When time is up, bring the participants back together for a full group discussion. Ask participants to share any insights they gained from the pair discussion. Write these points on a flip chart page. Participants can share organically and build on each other’s points. Facilitate this discussion for 5-10 minutes.

Step 6

Ask participants to take a few minutes of solo thinking time and write down an answer to this prompt: “What is one small step you can take to improve your learning agility at work over the next couple of weeks?” When participants are done writing, ask them to form a circle. Ask for a volunteer to share his/her action step. That person gets to select the next person and so on until everyone has shared how they plan to work on their learning agility.