Whitney Johnson, an expert on disruptive innovation and personal disruption, shared key accelerators for personal growth and disruption with members of the India Leadership Council.
As the truism goes, change is inevitable, but when it hits close to home, it upends our lives in unexpected ways. When it arrives in waves, one can look to simply survive the traumatic effects of change, or embrace it and thrive thereby. Simply put, one must choose change before change chooses you.
At a breakfast session of The Economic Times India Leadership Council, Whitney Johnson made a passionate and cogent argument to disrupt yourself, or be disrupted. “Disrupting yourself is critical to avoiding stagnation of your personal and professional growth, being overtaken by low-end entrants that are quicker to the draw.”
Johnson elaborates further by drawing out the S-curve to prove her point. At the outset, we are enthused with the job at hand and have a sense of exhilaration, the honeymoon period in a manner of speaking. This is the rush we get when pushing ourselves head-first into the unknown, and the ‘rush’ lasts up until the point where things get really tough as we begin to approach mastery. “This is the fun part of disruption, rapidly scaling to new heights of success and achievement. Eventually, you will plateau and your growth will taper off. Then it’s time to look for new ways to disrupt.”
Thus, as an individual if you’ve reached a plateau or you have a sense of uneasiness about that top rung of the ladder you’re about to ascend to, you should disrupt yourself for the same reasons that companies must. What well entrenched companies do masterfully can be done just as effectively by many peers, and perhaps more swiftly and affordably by up-and-comers. It is thus imperative to not only carve out your personal brand, but to be distinctive while doing so.
Disruptive change can at times be unwelcome, but just as life is unpredictable, so too personal disruption is inevitable. By truly embracing disruption, you can leverage it as your personal sledgehammer to break down barriers to personal and organizational growth. And as you go further down the path of self-discovery and renewal, you’ll discover that personal disruption is not enervating, but energizing. All it takes is the courage to take the first steps to discovering a new you as you disrupt yourself.