Companies think about it all the time. Innovation. A new idea, one that will catapult the organization to the top.
Individuals don’t always think about the power of disruption and innovation to reinvent themselves in the same way.
“Disrupting yourself is critical to avoiding stagnation.” -Whitney Johnson
Whitney Johnson is one of the world’s leading management thinkers and is a former an award-winning Wall Street equity analyst. Whitney’s latest book, Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disrupt Innovation to Work, is all about putting the power of disruptive innovation to work on you.
If you want to be mediocre, this is not the book for you. But, if you’re daring, put the power of disruptive innovation to work on your own career.
Whitney recently shared with me some of the highlights from her book and research:
7 Variables to Mastery
7 Variables to Mastery
1: Take the right risks
2: Play to your distinctive strengths
3: Embrace constraints
4: Battle entitlement
5: Step back to grow
6: Give failure its due
7: Be discovery driven
You’ve identified 7 variables to move from gaining competence, confidence, and finally, mastery. Is there one that most people struggle with?
One of the hardest is entitlement, the belief that ‘I exist therefore I am entitled’. Sadly, I see it in myself all the time. It comes in many guises, like cultural entitlement. We all need to feel that we belong. A sense of belonging gives us the confidence we need to try something new. But as we begin to see the fruits of taking the right kinds of risks and playing to our strengths, it’s easy to start believing ‘this is the way things should and will always be’. The nanosecond we start believing this, we stop learning. So that right when you are feeling the most competent, and have the confidence to try something new, you begin to stagnate, potentially even backsliding. If you want to enjoy the hypergrowth of disruption, of moving forward not back, battle entitlement.
Identify Your Distinctive Strengths
I have always been a fan of working on strengths. How do you identify your distinctive strengths?
It’s easy to identify your distinctive strengths, after the fact, because they are what make you a fish out of water. It’s figuring out your strengths in the first place. So here’s a clue: What compliment do you habitually dismiss? You’ve heard it so many times that you are bored. Or you wonder why they are complimenting you because it is as natural as breathing. Malcolm Forbes said, “People tend to undervalue what they are, and overvalue what they aren’t.” Take note of that compliment. It’s likely a strength. Then find ways to apply or use that strength where others are not.
“A distinctive strength is something that you do well that others within your sphere don’t.” -Whitney Johnson
Like Jayne Juvan, a partner at a law firm in Cleveland. As a third year associate, she started blogging. There was some political flak. Law firms tend to be conservative. The partners didn’t see the opportunity. But she didn’t back off. Good thing. When the economy came crashing down in 2007, she sidestepped layoffs because she’d landed clients on social media. She also had a compelling case to make when she was up for partner. Learning the law was her pay-to-play skill, social media her distinctive strength.