The Value of DisruptionHave you ever gone someplace new or done something different and felt like it startled you awake? Have you ever been with someone you’ve known for years and, in a flash, saw them in a new way for the very first time? Ever notice how keenly aware you are when you are doing something you don’t normally do?

Life, people, places, nature can influence how aware, vibrant, energetic and creative you feel.

As I sat down to write this blog last week, I felt stuck and uninspired. I knew my feelings of frustration were not connected with the task at hand. I had a sense I simply needed a change of pace to inspire my creative juices and get things flowing. Having about an hour, I packed up my backpack, grabbed a blanket, put my dogs in the car and headed to the park. When I sat down in the park, the first draft of this post began to flow.

I’m a fan of shaking things up every now and then. When we hire coaches, it creates a new dynamic and level of accountability – that’s disruptive. Experience–based learning, getting people out of their comfort zones – again, disruptive.

When we disrupt the status quo, we make room for presence, awareness, innovation, creativity and new perspectives.

A colleague and I facilitated an Emotional Intelligence training recently. Following the retreat, one of the participants stopped us to talk about the benefits of the day. He confessed before arriving, he was aggravated by “having to be there” but was profoundly impacted by being outside of the workplace to learn. When I asked why, in particular, that had a powerful impact for him he said, “Two reasons; One, I am rarely outside of our building during the workday. It was a welcome reprieve to get out of the office and be in a new environment…it got my creative juices flowing. Two, I was able to leave work at work and be present with our team without distractions. That impacted my receptivity to the training, my colleagues and learning.”

I hear that frequently. This post is not about the power of getting your team outside of the workplace, even though I do recommend that for amazing impact.  Rather it is about leveraging disruption as a tool. Disruptions can break us from our normal routine and environment and compel us to open ourselves to new perspectives.

Viewing a project from a 30,000 foot view; observing how we interact with our colleagues in new, creative ways; and, having the time and space to reflect upon making shifts in how we operate allows us to:

  • Challenge assumptions
  • Ask better questions
  • See through prejudices
  • Discover new possibilities
  • Recognize emerging leadership traits
  • Create new habits

Disruption can be a change agent. Used intentionally in coaching and training, it can also be a powerful tool for facilitating growth, creativity, innovation and learning.

In what ways are you leveraging disruption in your business, personal practice and/or life?