No Image Available

Alice Ma

Fortune Pharmacal Co. Ltd.

Organization and People Development Manager

Read more from Alice Ma

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Training and development ideas to improve staff’s agility at work


Our management introduced some company values last year. After CEO's Presentation to all staff about these values, we organized a series of training workshop, action plan for improvement, sharing sessions to help staff understand the meaning, behavioral indicators etc. of these values, aiming to help them internalize.  Last January, we ran an assessment on how well our staff performed per these values.  We found that "Agility" scored the lowest among all departments.  My CEO asked me to do something about it. 

Could anyone share with me any ideas how this could be done?  I'm thinking to organize training programs on analytical skills, creative thinking, coaching questions for managers to deal with it.  What else can be done?

To help you understand this value further, we've defined below descriptors for "Agility":

- Alertness to need for change

- Fast response to new circumstances

Thanks a great lot.

5 Responses

  1. is this another ‘silver-bullet’ request?

    Dear skmagl17

    I’m assuming that you are the L&D specialist/manager

    I’m also taking your comment that "staff" have been trained and "staff" have been assessed means that the senior managers were exempted from this.


    Why is the CEO expecting your function to "do something about" this? These two descriptors are very heaviliy dependent upon the prevailing management culture and the actions of individual managers; from the top to the lower levels of the hierarchy.  Whilst you can train staff, and/or managers, you cannot be responsible for everything they do back in the workplace.

    Agile-lions led by dyed-in-the-wool-donkeys will not behave in an agile way!

    I doubt that this helps you but I hope it does


  2. Agility and responsiveness

    Hello, what an interesting challenge – Agree with Rus  – what a great comment Agile-lions led by dyed-in-the-wool-donkeys will not behave in an agile way! I think before you go ahead with your plan  "To organize training programs on analytical skills, creative thinking, coaching questions for managers" I would gather evidence of the cost of lost opportunities due to failure to be alert to the need for change and respond to that need appropriatly…why -because I would want to be sure that the training developed the skills to respond to these situations in the context that they are experienced. I would also want to be sure that the culture supports managers in their coaching practice to encourage individuals to respond if managers do not feel confident to empower individuals because the culture does not support risk taking then they will not embrace the coaching.



  3. Perhaps try employee engagement techniques

    It is difficult to judge what is the best way forward given that I don’t fully understand your situation or the culture of your organisation but you could try using employee engagement techniques in order to give them an opportunity to be agile.

    This would need management commitment to listen to ideas and support implementation in order to prevent the agility from being squashed (if the lack of management support  is the cause of the apparent lack of agility).

     You could try:

    1) form the workforce into groups and ask them to make a list of problems that they face at work. Ask them to categorise and then prioritise the problems. Ask them to analyse the problems (using standard quality tools- provide training as necessary). Ask them to identify barriers, costs, cost of non-quality etc. 

    2) ask them to work on proposed solutions to the problems. The timescale for this would depend on the amount of reseach involved. Teams may need to be cross-functional to address some problems, look at knock on effects of solutions. But if you want them to be agile do it over a short period of time (e.g. over two days- depends on your definition of agile!)

    3) ask them to make a presentation to managers about their proposed solution. Management could respond in terms of green for go, amber for ‘needs to be considered further’, red for no.

    4) if its green for go, go ahead and do it.

    When this method works it has probably as much to do with the process of being asked, engaged , listened to and responded to in a problem-solving way by management as it has to do with any of the training content. For it to work you may need to do some ‘political work’ to 1) convince managers (especially middle managers) to take the risk without feeling undermined or having current practices challenged 2) convince staff to take the risk to put ideas forward (or convince them it ‘will be different this time’). Get the CEO  to open the training session to show its seriousness.

    Even if it produces lots of small changes rather than one great change it will provide staff with a method and excuse to engage in the future which may hopefully create a more agile culture.

    I hope this helps.



  4. Worker Agility

     We were having the same problem. My boss then engaged I have no affiliation with him beyond being a happy customer. He showed us how to increase agility and helped us develop a strategy to increase emotional resilience and agility across our company. He worked personally with the board to get them aligned and then helped us to get the rest of the workforce on board and helped me rejig our policies and proceedures, particularly in terms of recruitment, promotion and appraisals. 

    His basis idea is that you show people how to be more ’emotionally resilient’ but still connected, creative and importantly in my view, how to cope with uncertainty. I was initially skeptical but I have to admit it has worked a treat. It’s like we have new staff!

    Hope this helps 


No Image Available
Alice Ma

Organization and People Development Manager

Read more from Alice Ma

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!