As we move through the cycle of seasonal changes; it is also a time for harvesting new ideas from our feelings, thoughts, and learnings from this year’s conditions of extreme uncertainty and volatility. Whether you actively seek to disrupt yourself, your team, and your organisation to effect sustainable success in the new year, or not, we all need to face, adapt and learn from the range of challenging disruptive events that impacted us in the past 12 months. This is why it might be useful to see these disruptive events as positive and powerful forces to create new cracks in your own, or your team, or organisational soil, and sow some imaginative, creative, and inventive seeds. To see them germinate the desired changes you want for yourself, your team, and organisation and deliver them, to survive and thrive in 2021 and beyond.
We have all been challenged by disruption
Our status quo and concepts of business-as-usual were all disrupted this past year, resulting in a series of initial neurological shocks, that shook many of to their core. Some adapted to the range of constant shocks and exploited the opportunity to reinvent, iterate, or pivot our teams and organisations, and just “got on” with it. Some denied, defended, and avoided making changes, and sunk deeply into their fears and anxieties, falsely believing that our lives, and our work, would eventually go back to “normal”.
This is because a significant number of our habitual, largely unconscious mental models and emotional states, have been disrupted, largely by events beyond our individual and collective control. Causing many of us to experience “cognitive dissonance” (a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behaviours. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviours to reduce the discomfort and restore balance) from the chaos, discomfort, confusion, and conflict occurring throughout the year. Resulting in many of us disconnecting cognitively and emotionally, from the current disruptive reality, secretly hoping that “it will all go away” which manifested fundamentally and unconsciously, as resistance to change.
Why disrupt yourself, your team, and organisation?
Yet disruptive change is inevitable, the speed and pace of exponential change cannot be stopped, the range of complex and global and local problems that need to be solved collectively, aren’t going away. Job security and full-time employment, as technology accelerates are becoming “things of the past”, as the workplace continues to destabilize through digitization and automation.
Taking the first steps to disrupt yourself, your team, and your organisation
In this time of extreme uncertainty; we have all been given a unique moment in time, to disrupt ourselves, teams, and organisations by:
1. Hitting our individual and collective mental and emotional pause buttons, to retreat from our business-as-usual activities, and take time out to reflect upon:
- How specifically have I been disrupted in the past year? How specifically have we been disrupted in the past year? How have our people been disrupted? How have our teams been disrupted? How have our customers been disrupted? What are some of the collective impacts on our organisation’s current status and how might these impact our future growth potential and overall sustainability?
- How connected are we to an exponential world, how can we ensure that our feelings, thoughts, and actions, connect with what is really happening to us, our teams, and our customers? What causes disconnection and how might we manage it to be more mentally tough and emotionally agile in an extremely uncertain future?
- What really matters to us, our teams, organisations, and customers? What do our people, teams, and customers really want from us?
- What are the key elements of our organisational strategy to enact our purpose and deliver our mission?
2. Generating safe, provocative, and creative conversations, that evoke deep listening and deep questioning, about how to individually and collectively reconnect, revitalise, rejuvenate and reenergise people, teams and organisations to survive and thrive through asking:
- How can we engage and harness our peoples and teams’ energies in ways that mobilize their collective intelligence to evoke new mindset shifts and new ways of thinking and acting?
- What are some of the key mindsets and traits we need to disrupt, shift, and cultivate to be successful to adapt and grow through disruption?
- What skills do our leaders and teams need to learn to think and act differently to shift the organisations culture to deliver our strategy?
- How might we shift our teams and organisations to be agile, and redesign our organisations for both stability and speed?
- What does it mean to us, our teams, and organisations to be creative, inventive, and innovative? How might we shift our teams and organisations to be more creative, inventive, and innovative?
- What are the new behavioural norms that will support and enable us to execute agile and innovative changes?
- How might becoming agile and innovative help our people, teams co-create a healthy, high-performing, and sustainable organisational culture?
- How might becoming agile and innovative add value to the quality of people’s lives and help our customers flourish
3. Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable by developing our peoples, teams, and our organisational “discomfort resilience” and dance on the edge of your comfort zones through:
- Creating safe environments where people and teams have permission and are trusted to practice moving through difficult emotions and by taking little bets in low stake situations.
- Intentionally breaking organisational routines and habits, to create space in people’s brains for new neural pathways to be developed.
- Enabling people and teams to become mindful of their triggers, to interrupt their automatic reactions, to then thoughtfully and intentionally respond to situations, that make them uncomfortable and risk-averse, by knowing how to think differently.
- Bringing more play into the way people work, encourages people to be imaginative, inquisitive, curious, and improvisational, to seek different ways of thinking and acting, that really make a difference to how work gets done.
- Support people and teams to learn by doing, and failing fast, without the fear of blame, shame, and retribution, despite it being risky to do that.
Why not disrupt yourself, your team, and organisation?
The future is going to be full of disruptive events and circumstances that will impact is our families, communities, team, and organisations, and the conditions of extreme uncertainty and disruption are not going to go away. In fact, they are fundamental to what might be described as our collective “new normal” and it’s up to you to disrupt yourself, your team, and your organisation, to lead, adapt and grow to survive and thrive through it.
Credit: Janet Sernack