Business Expertise: The Importance of Cognitive Agility

Cognitive agility is the speed with which an individual is able to update their mental models in response to new information. This is what the study of cognitive agility tells us about how we learn — and fail to learn — in business and in life.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Follow-up: one of the obvious questions that I have in the aftermath of learning about cognitive agility is the question: how do you test for it? This is something that I’ve been struggling with for a long time (see Dismissively Stubborn for context) and so here’s a current test that I intend to evaluate.


  1. What lessons have you learnt from your experience that you think are no longer true?
  2. Tell me the story of the experiences that led you to that original set of lessons? What made you change your mind?
  3. What lessons might you be wrong about right now?

I’ll be testing this by running it against people I know to be cognitively rigid first, before attempting to apply it as a prospective test.

Note: this is somewhat related to The Hard Thing About Learning From Experience.


Reporting back on this: I’m not convinced it’s particularly effective. It was too easy to make up some random story (or too difficult in the moment to think of an example).

Back to the drawing board …