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Three Antidotes to Face Disruption

By Fran Cherny
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In my previous article, I described how I understand disruption and the three main challenges I see organizations face when dealing with accelerated change. Regardless of the kind of industry, size of business or location, our experience shows us that disruption impacts individuals and organizations in the way you live, the way you engage with others, and the way you do business.

The three challenges, or “viruses” I spoke about were:
• Lack of responsibility or ownership to respond and the speed with which we act. We call this the “victim” mindset.
• Lack of curiosity, openness and acceptance of the status quo. We call this the “knower” (or “fixed”) mindset.
• The dangers of multitasking and not valuing the power of focus on a single task at a time. We call this the “multitasker.”

Below you will find the “antidotes” or mindsets to “fight” these “viruses”.

The player mindset focuses on your capacity to respond when facing a challenging situation, your “response-ability” — the shift in focus from what is out of your control to what you can control. It is present and future focused, while “victims” are often stuck in the past and attached to “this is how we’ve always done it.” The intent is to solve the problem at hand with agility and speed instead of pondering the past and looking for blame, which is counterproductive.

The learner mindset is the capacity to acknowledge that what we see and interpret is hinged on what we are capable of seeing based on our own story, beliefs and how we make meaning of the world around us. There are many different perspectives and a wide range of opportunities that arise once we open up with a humble attitude that allows us to learn new things. That way we can detach from the stories we tell ourselves and don’t believe them as if they were the ultimate truth. When you stop trying to prove others wrong, opportunities will appear for you to find an effective solution. The aim is to find a solution for the organization to be as effective as possible, not trying to be right.

Focus and presence is the art of paying kind attention to what is really going on. Although many people seem to think that being able to do many things at the same time is a great gift, I dare challenge that idea. I believe that it is really hard to see what is going on and embrace what is really happening unless you are fully present. There is research that shows how multitasking effectiveness is a myth because you are doing a little bit for each of the things you are working on instead of doing a lot and being fully focused on one task at a time. You cannot react fast if you don’t see the opportunities around you. I have experienced multiple leaders ask me, “How the hell didn’t I see this coming?” But deep down they knew the issue was always there. When we lose focus, we miss what leaders are supposed to see, what others don’t. Practicing our capacity of staying in the present moment seems easy, but it is not simple. I would take the risk of saying that once you try it, you’ll realize how much richness and clarity it brings.

So how can you start applying and making this happen?

  • Speak in the first person, own your opinions and emotions (and reactions to ideas), and recognize that you are the one who owns what you think and feel.
  • Invite others to express what they think and feel, and find what is right in it. “Make people right before you make them wrong.”
  • Make sure that you put in leadership meeting agendas a section on “what we might be missing” and “what can go wrong.” Allow people to brainstorm about this and see what emerges.
  • If after reading this you still think multitasking is useful and it is better than focusing on a single situation at a time, I invite you to watch this two-minute video and check if this doesn’t happen to you. Unless you start thinking in this way, it would be hard to create any change.
  • You need to develop these skills, as we have often learned the opposite. Incorporate a “pause” from time to time throughout the day, especially before important meetings. Did you ever try the power of one-moment meditations? Try this and see how effective “the power of pause” could be.

As you can see, building a more agile, disruptive and innovative organization requires us to challenge our mindsets and practice new skills we might not have developed yet. But if you want to see the change happening, you would need to take the first step. Are you up for it?

Transcription

The first one is what we call the knower, the second one is what we call the victim, and the third one is what I would call the multitasker, let’s say. I know that multitasker, multitasking for many people means a good thing. I will put it in a way that I’m not sure about that.

And the opposite of that is the player, the learner and what I would say is the focus, being focused on what’s going on right here, right now. What that mainly means for me is, the protagonist player, mainly means focusing on what you have under your control to solve any problem, to solve any situation, focus on your capacity to respond, your ability to respond to any situation that you have. Stop blaming other, stop thinking what happened in the past, really focus on how are you gonna respond to a challenge because that’s gonna be the fastest way to address the issue that is emergent.

The second one that is, the learner, it’s mainly seeing things in a way that you don’t believe your own stories. In whatever you’re seeing in the world, whatever possibilities you are seeing, adjust your stories, what you are capable of seeing. Now, there might be a lot of other stories and possibilities that you didn’t see so far.

So, just having that way of thinking will create huge opportunities for everyone. So, just imagine an organization where people are not trying to prove them right and prove others wrong, but really try to think what’s the most effective response to any situation.

And the third one for me, is it’s very hard to see what really is going on. If we are with two devices at the same time in the previous conversation that I was completely stacking my mind with that, I’m not really focused on the conversation that I’m having right here with you.

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