Personal International Agility

Photo credit © Michael Froehls
Written by Michael Froehls

What on earth is Personal International Agility? It’s a term I coined. Before understanding the phrase, we first have to talk about the recently popular concept of agility in both the corporate and personal arena.

Agility for Corporations

Agility has recently become a buzz term in the realm of corporate strategy. McKinsey calls Enterprise Agility the last reorganization you will need. In their own words, “Becoming an agile organization allows a company to increase speed of execution, better respond and adapt to customer needs, increase productivity, and engage and empower employees.” In a nutshell, agility means to be nimble and fast moving when embracing growth, thereby staying flexible and always ready to realign your organization to changing needs. Moreover, even large organizations that in the past were too rigid to adapt can do it. Global consultancies like BCG help companies become more agile in the digital age. Harvard Business Review put this “Agility at Scale” on its front cover.

Personal Agility

What does all this have to do with you? You can follow the concept of agility in your own life.

Coaches and book authors call it Personal Agility. According to Liggy Webb, an author and international consultant specializing in behavioral skills, “Personal agility is essentially about your dynamic capability and how to respond to situations in a timely, innovative and sustainable way when you need to. Being open minded to change and exploring different approaches will help you to navigate volatility, uncertainty and complexity.”  The scope of agility encompasses career, finances, and even health.

Agility is Optionality

If you think about it, agility is very close to the concept of optionality. An option allows you to do something in the future or over a period of time, but you are not required to exercise the option if the situation is not conducive for it. An option is a right to act, not an obligation. What are powerful options in your life? There are many.

Education – enhances access to good jobs. Money – frees you from financial restraints that might keep you from studying in your dream location, founding your start-up, or looking for opportunities on the other side of the globe. Health – if you have no ailments, you have more opportunities in life. Renting an apartment – it’s easier to move to a new town if you don’t own property. Then there is open mindset – the more curious and open you are to new ideas, the more opportunities will be on your horizon, be it work, investments, or love life. I could go on, but you get the idea. The more options you have in life, the more agile you can be. Optionality is all about having both the ingredients to be flexible and the willingness to use them.

Personal International Agility

Let us now elevate this to Personal International Agility. If you have international options and are ready for them, you are at an advantage over those who only have national options. Personal International Agility for me is the capacity and willingness to find and use international options in career, investments, or love life when the situation is right. In order to be internationally agile, you should have additional ingredients than those who are only locally agile. Here are three:

  • Language skills – mastery of a foreign language is an option play, as we previously have pointed out. You can study, work, or start you own company abroad.
  • Passport – an EU passport allows you to work in the 28 core EU member countries plus Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland. A Syrian passport does not get you far. If you have a second passport or other access to another country, that’s an important asset offering you optionality. 
  • International experience – once you have gained exposure to foreign countries, your skill set has increased. Maybe you encountered new business models while traveling, created a network during your studies abroad, or just discovered a new culture you fell in love with. In each case, your capability to exploit international options has increased.


While agility has become a buzz word in business and in coaching for individuals, the core of the idea is sound. Being flexible and ready while focusing on the important things in your corporation or life are key. But you can do even better by applying the concept beyond your country’s borders. Personal International Agility is at the core of the philosophy of Go Global Be Happy.

What is your plan to increase your Personal International Agility?

© Michael Froehls – 2019 – All Rights Reserved

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