Accelerating the Advancement of Women Leaders 

LEADING THROUGH DISRUPTION

May 25, 2018

If you can’t see the forest for the trees, it may be because you have been in the woods a long time. In other words, being barraged with rapid change at work can make it hard to see the opportunities that might actually exist within the disruption.

Technology forecaster, innovation expert, and author of seven books, Daniel Burrus, asks “Why is it that the taxi driver wasn’t the one to come up with Uber? Because when one is too focused on execution, the door is opened for disruption.”

Not only is change rapid, but the actual process of how things change is undergoing its own transformation and coming in unexpected ways. A few innovation experts such as Burrus, however, have figured out how to look at the widespread disruption as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle.

“By looking at hard trends, which are patterns based in fact and certainty, one can start to anticipate what is going to happen. With a higher emphasis on anticipation over agility (simply reacting to change), leaders and organizations can start to make disruption work for them,” he says.

 

Get the right mindset for dealing with change:

  1. Stop focusing on simple execution. “If you’re only focused on the way things are happening now, then you are opening yourself up to a lot of risk,” Burrus warns. “When you see disruption, don’t protect and defend the status quo. Know what’s coming with anticipation and turn the moment of change into an advantageous situation for your organization.”

    Studying the hard trends with supporting data can help you figure out what’s coming next and what to do to get ready and get out in front.

 

  1. Don’t act too quickly. “When leaders are too quick to act, they jump past the necessary steps of helping team members understand why change is needed and even giving them time to experience the range of emotions that inevitably come with confronting change,” said Jerry Magar, Business Consultant at Southern Methodist University Executive Education and a session leader at WFF’s 2018 Annual Leadership Development Conference. Rushing change can torpedo the very progress you’re trying to build.

    Giving employees time to adjust and weigh-in on changes can help get the team through the transition as a unified front with mutual understanding of the opportunity at hand.

 

As tumultuous times continue, become a change management expert adept at searching out the hidden opportunities:

  • Use visible trends to anticipate disruption and be proactive.
  • Understand what can be changed and what can’t.
  • Instead of fearing disruption, develop a plan to transform it into opportunity.
  • Take the emotions of your colleagues into account and be as transparent as possible in your response to disruption.
  • Don’t rush to action before getting others on board.


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