Saturday Sage: Kris Wants to be a Constructive Disruptor


Think carefully before you become a disruptor. Constructive disruption is a fist fight with conventional wisdom. The good news is a constructive disruptor instigates innovation. But expect discombobulation.

A constructive disruptor blends the spirit of innovation with questioning the status quo. Remember what Dwitt Jones said, “Patterns become prisons.”

You are late to the party if you wait for the right time.

Become a constructive disruptor. Patterns become prisons. Image of a pattern of leaves.

10 signals it’s time to disrupt:

  1. Every day looks like yesterday.
  2. New ideas bubble and sink.
  3. Leadership feels overconfident.
  4. Company parties drain everyone but the boss.
  5. Energy is low. You’re bored stiff.
  6. You do what others already did.
  7. Everyone laughs at the same jokes.
  8. Complainers get attention like Olympic athletes.
  9. Creatives sit on the bench watching others play.
  10. Questions are stale, rare, or non-existent.
Become a constructive disruptor. Image of an excited cat.

Why become a constructive disruptor:

  1. You create opportunities to lead.
  2. You create situations that challenge and strengthen teams.
  3. You invite people to step up and many are just waiting for their opportunity.
  4. You give meaning to mission and vision.
  5. You strengthen teams.

“It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”.  Derived from Charles Darwin

Be less traditional. Act agile. People stay put when they believe the destructive myth, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Blow that myth to smithereens.

Become a constructive disruptor:

Don’t wait for things to go bad. Disrupt when things are going great. In other words, ‘do things before you need to’. 

“One cannot manage change. One can only be ahead of it.” Peter Drucker

Constructive disruptions replace what people have with what they imagine having.

Create opportunities for genius to percolate. Be the kid in the classroom who was always raising their hand and disrupting by asking questions. 

Face the future with anticipation. Carmen Medina, community organizer in Cape Town, South Africa, said, “Optimism is the greatest form of rebellion.”

Connect with fellow disruptors:

  1. Recruit people who have followers.
  2. Notice humble confidence.
  3. Engage people that already succeed.

Don’t stay in the eye of the hurricane where it feels safe. Hurricane hunters experience the power of hurricanes by flying through the eyewall.  Embrace turbulence! Better yet, skillfully create it.

This Week’s Challenges:

What life-patterns are on the verge of becoming prisons?

Reflect on the kind of change that intrigues you.

Ask three elders to talk about things they wish they would have done.

How might you become a constructive disruptor?

Related ideas:

The Five Practices of Smart Teams

Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson

This post is a collaboration between Dan Rockwell and Stan Endicott.

Kris is a composite character.

Note: I relax my 300-word limit on weekends.