Leveraging disruption in leadership

by | Feb 9, 2021 | Leadership

Last year when the COVID pandemic hit, the United States, and in fact, the world, was left reeling—not only because of the health impact of the pandemic, but largely because of the subsequent decisions made by political and industry leaders as they attempted to navigate what was an unprecedented experience. Nearly a year later, the aftershocks of the pandemic are still being felt.

For our team at the Sagamore Leadership Initiative, we found ourselves having to make some very difficult decisions, including the wrenching decision to suspend our signature Sagamore Summit event for the first time in 12 years. It was hard, but necessary, if we were to keep the U.S.S. Sagamore afloat. And even more so as we watched other businesses, organizations, and entities around us—many of which seemed to be built on unassailable foundations—eventually crumble under the weight of the pandemic.

I mentioned in a previous post, the observation from Aisha Ahmad that “Calamity is a great teacher.” And it can be, if we are willing to learn and grow from it.

In speaking to groups, I often say that COVID has been the Great Revealer, in that, such massive calamities tend to expose both where we (as governments, businesses, churches, etc.) are strong, and where unknown fault lines may actually exist under the surface which have escaped our attention when times were good.

In either case, such massive disruptions like COVID can also present an opportunity. For example, I challenged our Sagamore leadership team to begin thinking outside the box: “Don’t be afraid to tip any sacred cows. How might we use this universal disruption to rethink old problems? To leverage new technologies and resources in order to expand our mission of equipping leaders?”

That experience has expanded not only the creativity of our team but also our impact with even more emerging leaders. While we haven’t reached every goal, we have begun to see what is truly possible. And it’s exciting!

What about you and your organization? It may not be a crisis as all-encompassing as COVID, but we each face a variety of disruptions in the normal course of any leadership journey. How can you see those not merely as an obstacle, but instead, as an opportunity? Who knows? Perhaps the next big breakthrough for your organization is just one disruption away. Seize it!