GUEST POST from Janet Sernack
Moving into a new year is always a time for retreating and reflecting to accelerate growth and harvest new ideas from our feelings, thoughts, and learnings gleaned from the last two years of disruption, extreme uncertainty, and instability. Whether you are actively seeking to disrupt yourself, your team, and your organization to effect sustainable success this year, or not, we all have the opportunity to adapt, innovate and grow from the range of challenging events that impacted us in the past 24 months. This is why it might be useful to see these disruptive events as positive, powerful, and impactful forces for creating new cracks in your own, or your team or organizational soil – to sow some imaginative, creative, and inventive seeds for effecting positive change in an unstable world.
To see them germinate the desired changes you want for yourself, your team, and organization and deliver them, to survive and thrive in 2022.
We are all being challenged by disruption
Our status quo and concepts of business-as-usual have all been significantly disrupted, resulting in a range and series of deep neurological shocks, that have shaken many of us, our teams, and our organizations, to our very cores. Some of us adapted to a sense of urgency and exploited the opportunity to reinvent, iterate, or pivot our teams and organizations, towards co-creating individual and intentional “new normals” and just “got on” with it. Some of us have continually denied, defended, and avoided making changes, where many of us have sunk deeply into our 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, were 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 behaviors that produce feelings of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance) from the chaos, discomfort, confusion, and conflict.
Which saw many of us, disconnect cognitively and emotionally, from the current disruptive reality, where some of us secretly hoped that “it will all go away” manifesting and festering fundamentally and unconsciously, as inherent neurological immobility, (freeze, fight, flight) resulting in many areas as resistance to change.
Why disrupt yourself, your team, and organization?
Yet disruptive change is inevitable, the speed and pace of exponential change cannot be stopped, the range of complex and wicked global and local problems that need to be solved collectively, aren’t going away.
Job security and full-time employment, as hybrid and virtual work, and technology accelerate, are becoming “things of the past” as the workplace continues to destabilize through digitization, AI, and automation.
Whilst the war for talent also accelerates as the great resignation sets in and people make powerful, empowered life balance decisions and are on the move globally.
Taking the first steps to disrupt yourself, your team, and organization
In this time of extreme uncertainty, we have a unique moment in time, to disrupt ourselves, teams, and organizations by:
- Hitting our individual, collective mental, and emotional pause buttons, to retreat from our business-as-usual activities, and take time out to reflect upon paying attention and qualifying:
- How specifically have I/we been disrupted?
- How have our people, teams, and customers been disrupted?
- What are some of the major collective impacts on our organization’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, organizations, and customers – what do our people, teams, and customers really want from us?
- What are some of the key elements of our organizational strategy to enact our purpose and deliver our mission?
- Generating safe, evocative, provocative, and creative conversations, that evoke deep listening and deep questioning, about how to individually and collectively reconnect, revitalize, rejuvenate and reenergize people, teams and organizations to survive and thrive through asking:
- How can we engage and harness our people 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 organizations culture to deliver our strategy?
- How might we shift our teams and organizations to be agile, and redesign our organizations for both stability and speed?
- What does it mean to us, our teams, and organizations to be creative, inventive, and innovative – How might we shift our teams and organizations to be more creative, inventive, and innovative?
- What are the new behavioral 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 organizational culture?
- How might becoming agile and innovative add value to the quality of people’s lives and help our customers flourish?
- Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable by developing our peoples, teams, and our organizational “discomfort resilience” and dance of the edge of your comfort zones through:
- Creating safe environments where people and teams are allowed to experiment, have permission, and are trusted to practice, make mistakes as they move through difficult emotions, and take little bets in low stake situations.
- Intentionally breaking organizational 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.
- Equipping people and teams to 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 in 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 organization?
The future is going to be full of disruptive events and circumstances that will impact is our families, communities, team, and organizations, 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 organization, to lead, adapt and grow, to survive and thrive through it.
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