• Ariana Friedlander

Four Reflection Questions for Managing Disruption

This week I had the pleasure of attending a Thought Leader Speaker event featuring Peter Sheahan. He was a feisty speaker, calling out executives for bad decision making and cracking jokes at his own expense. His message was thought provoking, in large part because he encouraged those of us in the audience to reflect on and discuss our own experiences that might be limiting our abilities to effectively navigate change.

I always enjoy more interactive talks, it’s easier to pay attention when those of us in attendance get to engage rather than be mere bystanders. And so, I walked away with the seeds of new thoughts about disruption, innovation and change management firmly planted, watered and sprouting in my mind.


The most permeating idea he shared was the first of three steps of managing disruption. Peter called this moving from awareness to acceptance. He said leaders that are effective at navigating market disruptions have moved from awareness – I know this is a a problem, to acceptance – this is what I’m going to do about this problem.

I typically call this concept the knowing-doing gap and I was grateful for a new lens to look at this dynamic that commonly occurs in organizations and society as a whole. I was even more grateful to be challenged in thinking of my own discrepancies here. And I’ve chewed on this question ever since, where am I stuck in awareness and not moving toward acceptance?

The other two steps at managing disruption were 2) Ambition and 3) Alignment. Of course, I like the simplicity of his model and would be remiss if I didn’t give you a chance to more deeply understand it in its entirety.

Ambition is just as it sounds, it’s about your aspirations. Peter said, “an organization’s commercial success will never exceed the desires of its leaders.” And while those of us in leadership roles might think, “of course I’m ambitious to succeed!” Peter framed a number of questions around this step that challenged us to be more discerning about our reality. The question I kept chewing on was, am I building an optimistic or pessimistic story about my business?


The last step for managing disruption is alignment. This one again comes down to behaviors and requires one to make new decisions and behave in new ways. He observed that alignment is not the same thing as agreement. And leaders will limit the success of their team if they fixate on agreement rather than strive for alignment.

In closing Peter re-emphasized, “At the end of the day, if you want to change your company, you need to change yourself”.

Ironically, the gist of Peter’s talk was nothing new for me to hear. And yet his simple and direct approach was just the swift kick in the ass I needed to stop my own bought of negative self-talk and own that fact that I’m responsible for my business success, moving me from awareness to acceptance. Well said Peter!

Here are four reflection questions I’ve been journaling about inspired by Peter’s talk:

  1. Where am I stuck in awareness and not moving to acceptance?

  2. What opportunity can I actively move towards?

  3. Am I building an optimistic or pessimistic story about my business/organization?

  4. In what ways could my actions and decisions better support achieving my aspirations?

What’s Rosabella Consulting Up To?

I’m excited to be presenting at a number of events coming up. On Tuesday Dec 5th, I’ll be doing a Goal Setting Workshop at The Huddle Meetup – come check it out!

And, on December 18th, I’ll be presenting to NoCoNet about the Neuroscience of Conversation: What Every Job Seeker Needs to Know.

Lastly, Save the Date, 1/11, for The EntrepreNerds Annual Planning Workshop!! It’s never too soon to start thinking about your plans for 2018.

#Perspective #Leadership #Practice #Learning #Journaling #Creativity #Productivity #vulnerability #OvercomingAdversity #CompanyCulture #Business #DecisionMaking

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