Making ‘disruption’ a positive word

By Sarah Townsend | Updated February 27, 2020

Global Payroll Services

Change. Interrupt. Separate. Break. Discontinue. Shake things up. Chaos. Those are all words that come to mind when we think of ‘disruption.’  And, at first glance, they all seem negative.  It makes me think of the kid in school who couldn’t sit still and stay quiet, or someone interrupting me while I tried to talk on the phone. But let’s take a second look and think about this differently.

Over the past few years we’ve heard a lot about “disruptive technology,” “disruptive innovations,” and “disrupting the market,” but, what does any of it actually mean?  Sure, it means something is changing.  It means one thing is stopped so that another can thrive. It’s an interruption to the status quo. But without those changes or interruptions, we wouldn’t have some of the things that make our lives easier from cell phones and personal computers to microwaves and remote controls, these “disruptions” have greatly improved our lives.

I have no affiliation whatsoever, but I found a company online named ‘Positive Disruption.’ I like that.  Positive Disruption is a training company that helps businesses with change management.

“There’s a new awakening in the world of business. Companies that move through change with grace, speed, and agility not only win in the marketplace, they also become the best places to work.”  – Positive Disruption website

Oh, how true that statement is!  Through years of working with companies large and small, one thing is true across the board – if you’re not changing, you’re not growing.  And, if you’re not growing, business will suffer and so will jobs. But when a company and its employees embrace the idea of change, they become innovators, leaders, and pacesetters.  So, when they disrupt the market with new ideas, or challenge the status quo with new technology, the market stands up and takes notice.

Let’s think about some positive ways to look at disruption:

  • Light disrupts darkness;
  • Chemotherapy disrupts cancer cells;
  • A dam disrupts the flow of a body of water;
  • Salt disrupts the structure of meat making it more tender; and
  • Smart phones have disrupted many industries including businesses in the telephone, computer, camera, map, and print media industries, just to name a few.

Disruption is not only the point where something is interrupted, or broken, or changed.  It is also the point where something better is created, where something new improves what it breaks, and where the interruption is just the beginning point for what is to come. While breaking away from the status quo is important to a successful corporate disruptor, their purpose in doing so is to improve, not cause chaos. This is why we should embrace, rather than fear, disruption.

So, let’s shake things up. Be a disrupter. Let go of the status quo, and create something better.

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