DISRUPTION in the New Year

“Changing of the status quo. Setting out in a new direction. Breaking the cycle.”

I hear the term “disruption” a lot at conventions, conferences and business meetings where I speak. It is talked about as being a novel idea, something that we all must take up arms to do. In fact, it is something that is begun on a daily basis. The real message with disruption is that we must “follow through” once we start our disruption.

It is timely to have this discussion as we start a new year. As individuals, we make new resolutions and set goals for ourselves for our professional, personal and spiritual pursuits. As organizations, we reveal new annual plans with new service and product launches, budgets and strategic initiatives. These are efforts to disrupt the status quo, and bring about positive change. For any business or person that wants to grow and evolve, we should all be able to agree that change is a necessary ingredient for this process. Stagnation is a sure path to a slow and tragic death. But, disruption is the beginning of breathing life into a tomorrow filled with possibilities.

Where the concept of “disruption” loses its panache is when one is required to do what is necessary in order to accomplish the ultimate goal. For example, let’s say you travel a lot for work, you eat out a lot, your constantly playing catch up on projects and e-mail, and are keeping all the plates spinning in your work life; however, this professional success has come at the expense of your physical health. So you decide that your New Years Resolution is to get back in shape, join the gym, workout 3x per week, and lose twenty pounds.

You have set out a goal to disrupt your current state of denying your physical health at the expense of your professional life. Now it is time to execute on your goal for disruption. According to an article in Psychology Today, 80 percent of New Years Resolution goals fail by February!Why is it that disruption fails? The article points to four reasons why the attempted disruption fails.

1.    The goal is not clear. Sometimes with resolutions, we have failed to think through goals and the goal ends up being vague. However, in business we know that “vague is the plague, and to be specific is terrific.” Rarely do we set business goals that are not SMART (specific – measurable – attainable – realistic – time restricted). This should not be a reason for not following through with disruption in our professional lives.
2.    You feel overwhelmed. Many times in our professional lives, we are trying to keep many plates spinning at the same time. We have a problem saying no, and because of corporate restructuring and the reassignment of duties many times you will feel overwhelmed. Following through with disruption takes mental and physical resources, and time. If a person is overwhelmed, they will feel like they do not have the mental or physical resources to follow-through with disruption. Before you enact change in your routine and life, make sure you have freed up time to be able to make the change you have set as your goal. A person should not be expected to have a full plate, and be able to make dramatic disruptive change. If this happens, the disruption and the person are being set-up for failure.
3.    You feel discouraged.  There are sure to be setbacks, minor failures, slow progress and unexpected obstacles at times. Champions are not measured by their victories, but by how they respond when they are beaten. This is where your must use your strong mental game. When things look bleak rely on “hope” that it is possible to fulfill the disruption you initially set out to accomplish. Practice the discipline of being “patient” and remaining “calm” when the storm is upon you. Eventually, all storms pass. Be “consistent” in your effort to achieve your goal. Even when you don’t feel like it, you must make consistent effort toward achieving your goal on a daily basis. You are sure to feel discouraged during disruption; however, it is your decision to make whether to give up on your goal or continue pursuing your goal.
4.    You’re not ready to change. This is at the heart of most failures of disruption in the corporate setting. Teams talk about, draw plans on whiteboards and nod heads in agreement with disruption; however, in their heart of hearts they are not bought into do the work and withstand the discomfort required by the disruption. The fact is the masses do not want change. They want a comfortable life with more of the same. It is the 1/100thof 1% that will take up the torch and drive change and disruption for the entire organization. This person must be intelligent and experienced. This person must be a visionary. This person must be charismatic and an excellent communicator. At the heart of any large-scale disruption, there must be a tremendous leader with a warrior’s heart who is willing to sacrifice everything to see the disruption through to the end.

If you are lucky enough to have one of these disruption warriors in your organization, you should understand that they are a rare breed. You should pay them handsomely and use all the resources at your disposal to develop them and promote them throughout the organization. Soon, you will be working for them. People who understand and know how to truly see disruption through, are the people books are written about. However, their journeys always begin alongside us in the trenches. And perhaps, you are this warrior of disruption who will lead us to a brighter and better tomorrow.

And, if your New Years Resolution is to get in better shape and lose some weight, I believe you are ready and capable to do it. Change starts with a decision, and a decision can be made in an instant. I believe in you & Happy 2019!


Jason is an expert at teaching people to transform Dreams into Reality. He has amassed a lifetime of expertise in the field as a General Manager for General Electri leading large teams, where he ran a $400 million dollar business, he was a form leader of Global Operations for a Fortune 100 company, an attorney and CEO of a non-profit that helps children with Autism. In addition to his professional experience, he is a US Paralympian, holds 15 world records in ultra-running and mountain biking, is an author, a highly sought after motivational and business speaker and is the 1st and only blind person to run across America - 3,063 miles where he averaged 51.5 miles/day for 59.5 days. For speaking and media inquiries visit www.jasonromero.net.www.jasonromero.net 


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