What if you knew how to respond to a work crisis,
no matter how small or big?
HARNESSING THE ENERGY OF DISRUPTIVE EVENTS
In my upcoming book, Do Work DIFFERENT, I have a story about a high-tech company who went through another set of disruptive events – the dot.com bust and 9-11. The story illustrates how most businesses, collectively as groups and individually as the people in them, fail to connect the dots between internal and external events and their resultant combined effect on the work we produce. How in doing so, the disruptive events not only interrupt our short-term, everyday work momentum, they push us backward. Those who see the connection, acknowledge its effects and take immediate, proactive steps to recover are able to move on. Those who deny the influence of the events take longer to return to normal, and sometimes never recover.
Failing to connect the dots is most often manifested by denial and the reinforcing of the walls we build to keep the reality of external events out and the old world in. This includes the reality of the personal external events we bring with us every day and the external events and disasters that occur, no matter whether next door or far away. Disruptive events produce energy and that energy affects us all. Corporations and other similarly structured institutions have worked hard to build these walls and silos to separate events and ourselves from them. Keep our private life private, our home life at home, our empathy buried and our external events ignored, all nicely locked outside the business or organization. None of this works. Disruption disrupts.
As a 2011 commercial from The Partnership at Drugfree.org explained so well, denial is a drug. Repeatedly pretending the disruptive event didn’t happen, believing the world can and will return to the same as it was before or crawling in bed and pulling the proverbial covers over our heads is taking the denial drug. As with the taking of any drug, it makes you feel good or better at the time, but you feel worse when you come down off the high. Not acknowledging events and the changes taking place may give us a temporary sense of comfort and security, but stay in that state and recovery will be long and painful.
The walls of denial we build around disruptive events keep us from doing what we need to do most – harness the residual energy from the disruption for a constructive, good and positive transition forward. The change has already occurred. The disruptive events have disrupted. Stand your ground and you’ll drown. Plant you self as a stiff tree and you’ll not bend in the wind. Stay still and the world will pass you by. Use what ever analogy you want, but understand the world, your personal, family, business, business family, social circle, et al. has changed. You now have two choices. Stand passively by and let the events and other people shape that change and your future. Or participate in the process and progress. Do the former, stand back or opt out, and you probably won’t like the end result or will be forced to accept it, good or bad. Do the latter, take action before the residual energy dissipates, and you can affect the outcome for the better.
Next Week: Part 3 – Moving On