Navigating Disruption

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Today’s tech driven world appeals to our search for predictability. We have instant access to an abundance of information, perhaps too much of it. We’ve come to expect consistency from the brands on which we rely; Starbuck’s coffee is the same worldwide, and Amazon will deliver your package as close as possible to tomorrow. 

But working against this predictability, and undermining its expected outcomes, is the persistent disruption of routine, perpetual change that challenges us to repeatedly reassess what is more valuable to us. Change will continue to accelerate, and disruptions will occur with greater frequency, compelling us to be resilient in our response to it. 

Resilience requires a commitment to agility, a mindset that anticipates change and can drive our response when a disruption occurs. Agility requires flexibility, openness, and curiosity to consider what’s possible so our reaction to changing circumstances can be prompt and productive, thus avoiding the decision paralysis that uncertainty can trigger.   

The agile mindset understands that a major disruption presents an opportunity to improve something, to create value. Such disruptions are liminal moments, or as the telos institute defines them: “periods of discontinuity that create opportunities for change.” Their 4-step ‘liminal agility’ methodology helps leaders recognize these opportunities and navigate through the change process to deliver a productive outcome. For more on information on liminality, and telos’ liminal agility process, see: Liminal Space

Agility acknowledges the fear of uncertainty, but seeks to extract benefits from the disruption that caused it. It focuses on what’s known: the current situation and the reality that there’s urgent work to do now. It leverages prior experience and creativity, and is grounded in your business’ values, culture and the initiative, confidence and commitment of your people to produce a beneficial outcome.

How agile is your business in responding to disruption?

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