The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Peter Drucker.
Looking at what the future holds should be like looking at we want to create. As Vala Afshar notes, companies do not disrupt, people do.
One drives innovation and disruption in the organisation through driving personal disruption. And according to Whitney Johnson, a leading thinker on driving corporate innovation through personal disruption, the S curve developed in the early 60’s beautifully architects a map for personal disruption. To reach mastery, we must find ways to course along that S-curve journey.
“At first when we try something new the progress is slow, but as we hit the steep part of the curve, the fun begins…. With learning, progress doesn’t follow a straight line.”
Johnson’s 7 variables to reach mastery along the S curve resonate powerfully. Here they are:
- Take the right risks: starting something new is risky. Position yourself to play where no one else is playing (Read more on Blue Ocean Strategy if you are not familiar with the thinking).
- Play to your distinctive strengths: disruptors look for unmet needs, and match those with their strengths. (Take a look at the GC Index with it’s key 5 roles for Game Changing outputs. This Index measures proclivity, or how we like to contribute in role and at work, is strengths-based, and develops influence and impact).
- Embrace constant constraints: see things differently. ‘Constraints aren’t a check on our freedom, but rather a valuable tool of creation.’ (Read Why Breakout Growth Requires Us To Break Good Habits by A Beautiful Constraint)
- Battle entitlement: ‘entitlement will stifle innovation at all levels’, says Johnson. If you believe the world owes you, your S curve journey will be slow and even stunted. Give more than you take. No one really likes people who feel they are entitled to things.
- Step back to grow: be adaptable and curious. Sometimes that means recalibrating your metrics, and moving what feels like sideways, back or down. To disrupt you may need to redefine success.
- Give failure its due: get on your own S curve. Expect to fail. It is not a referendum on you. Learn. Make original mistakes. To disrupt you must walk into the unknown, and that is risky. Winners quit all the time, they quit the right stuff at the right time. – Seth Godin
- Be discovery driven: you can’t see the top of the curve from the bottom. Explore. Be curious. Search yet-to-be-defined places.