Lesson #3. Three Basic Steps to Assessing the Environment and Disrupt the Status Quo

DisruptiveLeadersShocktheWorldsmallDisrupting the status quo is not easy.  Many claim they want to be that leader but don’t know what process to follow.

Do you want to become that disruptive leader?

In this series, I am use lessons I learned in nature photography to examine how we can become that disruptive leader who does what followers and critics think is impossible.  I know this is a reach for many but keep reading, there is value in the comparison.  Here we FOCUS on 3 basic steps to carefully assess the environment we intend to disrupt.  Previously, in Lesson 1 we learned to plan and practice and in Lesson 2 to anticipate the opportunities.  Next week in Lesson 4, we will examine at the difficult choice to be different.  But first, let’s learn to assess the world around us.

Step #1:  Know the Landscape

As I have followed specific photographers over the decades, I’m intrigued with how they know their favorite landscape so well that they continually find new opportunities. It might be a national park, like Yosemite, where they study the landscape and know where the sun rises and sets at different points throughout the year.  They know how the vegetation changes through the four seasons and how the light reflects in certain weather. They also know the migration of the wildlife, when they move and how they interact.  But they also study the weather, watching the systems and knowing what effect it will bring to a particular scene. They learn how to anticipate and capture a spring thaw or a summer thunderstorm. They even know where to avoid the crowds of tourists and how to find space to work.  They have a strategy.

In the same way, disruptive leaders study both the business, economic and political landscapes.  They know their team and who they serve. They study their values and habits, joys and sorrows, energy and pain. But they also study the industry and the markets. They know which trends are cyclical and which ones are linear. Like the professional photographer, they know every inch of the landscape because they have spent so much time studying and working it.  Disruptive leaders know the landscape as part of their strategy to succeed. 

Step #2:  Assess the Changing Conditions

But just knowing the landscape isn’t good enough.The photographer’s goal is to capture the scene in exactly the right conditions to create stunning photo.  Unlike the average tourist, the professional landscape photographer looks for the shot that stands out, stops people in their tracks and makes them say, “Wow!”  To do that, they need to know far more about the landscape than the casual observer.  It is then that they use the in-depth knowledge to assess whether the changing conditions are ripe for the scene they want to create.  That requires the right conditions.

An excellent example of this is photographer who chases storms.  Capturing a tornado, lightning or a hurricane demands an intense commitment to monitoring the changing conditions.  They cannot predict exactly where  the scene they seek will develop but they do know the exact conditions most likely to produce it.  It is only when they can accurately assess the situation that they can forecast the opportunities.

Disruptive leaders follow that same process, carefully watching  the economic and political environments, monitoring the changes to assess the likelihood that their disruptive products or services will go viral.  They know the volatility of the 3D world and can determine when the time is right.  Meanwhile, the casual observer is oblivious to notice the nuances.   Disruptive leaders maintain their diligent monitoring and makes the right assessment. 

Step #3:  Anticipate the Opportunities

In the end, the right knowledge and assessment enables the savvy photographer to know when and where to get the best shot.  Knowing the landscape and how to assess the right conditions puts them in the place to see the location and timing for show stopping shot.  This process gives them the advantage over the casual observer or travel photographer.  It is what makes others utter, “I wish I could take shots like that.”

That is the same process that enables disruptive leaders to see and do what others do not.  They monitor the conditions to anticipate the opportunities that managers, followers and critics doubt even exist.  No wonder disruptive leaders do the impossible.

You can be the disruptive leader.  You don’t have to sit in the dark, disgruntled about struggling to stand out or succeed.  You can become the disruptive leader when you know your market, assess the changes and anticipate the opportunities.

  • Do you want to shock the world?
  • Do you want to change the environment?
  • Do you want to illuminate the vision of those around you? 
  • Are you committed to disrupting your career, community or industry?

Be the bold leader .

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I am Dr. Loren Murfield and I help aspiring and emerging leaders do what followers and critics think is impossible.  If you are determined to be that disruptive leader and desire someone to guide you in the process, contact me today Loren@MurfieldCoaching.com

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