Disruptor League

Riding the Wave of Disruptive Change

Being born and raised in Sydney, Australia, family trips to Bondi Beach to enjoy the delights of the dazzling sea and blazing sunshine were a regular weekend event. It was where I learned to body surf, that if you seek to ride a wave, you have to work or flow with it to let it carry you to the shore. That’s similar to today, where the disruptive waves of COVID-19 and a range of chaotic global events are causing massive social unrest that is hard to resist. Yet if we try to control or resist what is happening currently in civil society, like surfing a huge wave, we will get thrashed and dumped.

So many of us are already feeling thrashed and emotionally dumped by recent events, coupled with the uncertainty that constantly awaits us. Like a really good body surfer, it’s useful to learn which waves are more rideable and which waves are not. Just as there are certain thunderous big waves and risky ocean conditions when we should not attempt to body surf, there are identifiable mindsets and behaviours that won’t give us the control we may be seeking right now.    

To engage and collaborate with your colleagues and customers in creative and inventive ways, to help them be resilient and get into the wave of transformative change, here are some tips to help flow happen:

Use your mindful self-awareness to authentically be the change you wish to be in the world.

–          Be connected, empathic, and compassionate by understanding that whatever is true for them is their truth, so flow with it and don’t judge it.

–          Be willing to be playful and imaginative and seek possibilities and opportunities for disrupting the old normal and effecting positive change.

–          Be curious and creative about improvising and experimenting with new ways of thinking and acting.  

–          Be confident and courageous in co-creating a more just, collaborative, and inclusive future. Accepting that even the wisest among us will occasionally make mistakes, just as even professional surfers sometimes misread waves and fail spectacularly, it’s just an opportunity to make corrections and ride the wave of disruption with grace, elegance, and ease, as we are all surfing now into unknown territory.

Janet Sernack partners with individuals, teams, and organisations to help them adapt to adapt, innovate, and grow through disruption–where she specializes in the people side of innovation, culture consulting, leadership training, speaking, mentoring, and coaching.

2 thoughts on “Riding the Wave of Disruptive Change”

  1. Hi Janet, this rings so true to me! An ‘old’ colleague of mine used to tell me: ‘ride the wave Sylvie’ and I’ve been trying to apply this ever since. I’d like to share your post on Linked In as I’m sure it will resonate with many people. Is that ok? Thank you! Sylvie

    1. Hi Sylvie, thanks for your lovely comment, pls feel free to post on Linked In, as some people might be interested in becoming more heroic surfers in disruptive times like now!

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