Thriving In Disruptive Environments

We are living in an era of disruption, in which rapid technological change demands a radical rethink of the ways we do business and how we live our lives.


Are you open to new opportunities and able to harness the potential within unexpected events? Are you an early adopter or do you regard the rapidly changing environment merely as a nuisance?  


I’m capable of both reactions.  


Learning to Pivot

Ash Maurya, the author of Running Lean, reports that while most start-ups fail, 66% of those that succeed take a radical change of direction at some point. Taking a deep breath, they rethink and overhaul their initial product design. More often than not, their initial ideas – the place where it all began, had been precious to them, yet to succeed the need to open up to new possibilities.


Last year my colleague Vicki and I worked with business mentors who supported us in our launch of the Global Coaching Institute. They were masters in harnessing the potential within disruptive environments.  It was quite a journey.  Every program, every premise, every assumption we held dear was laid out before us, so we could take a fresh look at what we were creating.


It was a rigorous process that surfaced every thread of attachment that tied me to the workshops and resources I’d played a role in writing.


Committed teamwork was needed to get through the seemingly relentless process of testing and challenging our ideas. More than once I questioned why we were putting ourselves through it. The answer? Because we knew those start-ups and mature businesses that can’t face up to questioning themselves and pivoting when required, put their enterprises at risk. We teach this to coaches and business leaders. This was our opportunity to walk the talk – and to learn more about the journey from the inside-out.


What I learned in the process was how much my identity was tied up in the work we’d done to date. At times I found myself stuck and holding on, resistant to change. When we connected even more deeply with our vision, something in me was reassured and I was more open to shifting our strategy to better meet our students’ needs.


My roles as business owner, educator and coach-practitioner at times felt in deep conflict with each other. I had to learn how to detach or take one hat off in order to view our endeavors from different perspectives.


The journey also presented opportunities for our partnership to grow. It required us to unpack the roles we usually play in our partnership. We learnt, again and again, the importance of not getting stuck in one way of being. That meant being patient with each other on occasions, as well as knowing when to give each other a nudge when it was needed.


So what sustained us? A willingness – albeit delayed on occasions – to open up to the disruption.  Vicki and I both hold a fundamental commitment to growth, which means going beyond what we currently know or have experienced. We understand how to dig deep in the face of discomfort and hold a mindset that deeply values what seeming disturbance brings. 


If you’d like to learn more about embracing disruption or coaching clients to lead organisational transformation, check out our GCI Coaching & Transformational Roadmap program.



Take a moment to think about how you deal with disruption. 

What’s your attitude to it?  What influences your attitude?  

What are your default defences? When do you shut down and when do you open up?

What supports you to embrace disruption? 

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