Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

Disruption has become a familiar word in many workplaces as organizations search for ways to conduct business amidst a never-ending barrage of economic and social upheaval.

 

It occurs when are there are major changes to a business’ structure, competition, facilities, the economy, and even world events.

 

But how a business manages this disruption will depend on its leadership.

 

“I would say as an organization and a leader you need to embrace it,” says leadership coach and consultant Ricardo Camara, who operates Cambridge-based On This Rock Business Consulting Ltd.

 

As a leadership development professional who deals with ways to minimize management conflicts within organizations, he is very aware of the many disruptions that can befall a business, noting the pandemic has been the biggest disruption most business leaders have experienced.

 

“It was like a rude awakening for all of us,” he says, noting the trends it has spawned such a ‘quiet quitting’ or ‘The Great Resignation’ has led to the attraction and retention of employees becoming key priorities for many businesses. “But we have always had both internal and external factors that have impacted in how we do business.”

 

He says complaining about disruptions can create a negative work culture, but that by creating an environment of collaboration and innovation with employees helps build a higher level of trust and engagement that will benefit an organization as it deals with these changes.

 

“COVID-19 is a good example where organizations brought their teams together and they collaborated and everyone was engaged in that fight,” he says, adding staff is the No. 1 resource of any organization. “So why not give them a voice and make them feel part of the process? By doing that, you’re encouraging them to engage and buy into changes. Otherwise, if you force those changes upon your employees, they’re going to fight them.”

 

He says leaders who fear disruption can often paralyze an organization.

 

“It can create a sense of despair and uncertainty and adds to that mindset.”

 

Also, Ricardo says for businesses to successfully manage disruption it helps to have a pre-existing environment where collaboration and trust were already in place, especially when faced with a situation like a pandemic.

 

“I think disruption can also be short-term, long-term or even permanent,” he says. “We’ve seen that with COVID as businesses had to pivot and quickly develop new business models.”

 

But when it comes to preparing for disruption, he recommends leaders focus on developing their emotional and relationship intelligence, allowing them to motivate their teams in a compassionate way and connect with them on levels that will benefit the business.

 

“Leaders that have developed a higher level of these skills are more likely, statistically speaking, to be better at leading, guiding and coaching, and dealing with these types of situations more effectively,” says Ricardo. “Whereas individuals who do not have these struggle and often pass on that fear and uncertainty to their teams, and it can quickly become a wildfire that spreads through the organization.”

 

 

A few tips for managing disruption:

 

  • Think of disruption as an opportunity. Looking at disruption as an opportunity to create something better enables an organization as a team to move forward optimistically, and a better future.
  • Devise a plan to manage disruption. Creating a plan reduces confusion and allows your organization to a create strategy and allocate resources and responsibilities.
  • Communicate clearly and often. Consider holding town hall meetings, or one-on-one discussions because it’s vital to get in front of your team and working through the ramifications of disruption will be critical to your ability to engage and retain your key staff.

 

 

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