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Empowering Disruption

The story

Let’s disrupt essentialized, depersonalized Power-Point-Making, with some heart-appealing, time-consuming story telling!

When I started with Accenture 18 months ago, one of the terms that sticked with me from day 1 was the term “Disruption”. I liked it, it sounded fresh, courageous, self confident, especially coming from our CEO’s mouth, backed by his incredible energy.

More so I liked the term because it connected to my personality and deeply rooted belief that, in order to get to the truth, you need to break through barriers. This belief roots in the observation that people tend to close down, rather than open up, hiding their true hopes, fears and vulnerabilities behind a very carefully fabricated artificial self. I couldn’t help but consolidate this belief over the years.

I can now call my Project Management and international experience extensive, without fearing exaggeration. The most important success factors in large, continents-spanning programs were, in my experience, openness, inclusion, and the courage to get involved on a personal level. This attitude, when applied consequently and with patience, eventually leads to an elevated collaboration energy, close to the state of flow, unleashing true inner motivation and creativity. It leads to the excitement of Co-creating.

The more I dig into the disruption phenomenon, the more I perceive it as a mantra, a philosophy, an essential element of the NOW. I feel inspired, wanting to build on this, develop the concept. I am dreaming of joining forces with my colleagues and engaging our clients in a disruptive manner, breaking those barriers together and getting to the bottom of things, where the ingredients for true satisfaction success and purpose lie. Co-creation and mutual inspiration is the final destination, where the journey itself is as valuable as the result, the benefit being a long-lasting, fermenting relationship with the client.

During many projects I’ve worked on, it is this very manner of engagement I’m missing in action: instead of braking barriers, it’s the submission to customer’s fear-based clustering and entrenchment behaviour that bothers me. Instead of courageously, but with the appropriate modesty, challenging strategy and communication patterns Project and even Change managers all too often submit to resistance and opacity, degrading themselves into mere performers of duties.

But then, one day, it strikes me: I have to stop complaining and do something about it! The idea I was chewing on for several weeks was to designate a person in every project responsible for engaging the customer, and, why not, our own team, in a disruptive manner. I instinctively, but un-officially took this role in my last project. You know how it is, when you do something nobody asked you for, especially something that steers things up: the resistance you encounter is ten-fold. You end up in frustration and resignation. But, if this role, at the limit between program and change management, would be officially designated and properly empowered, it would bear a good chance to induce the needed customer disruption.

I am starting to design a few slides around my concept of disruption. Then I realise: it’s my concept, it’s probably quite different from John’s concept of disruption, or from Peter’s. In fact, I start realising by know, that nobody really knows what disruption is.

The more I read about it, the more I get excited, but time goes by and I’m not advancing on my presentation. My counsellor suggest that I should put out whatever I have: don’t wait for it to be perfect, be agile, he sais. I can’t do it, because the more I read, the less I have to say.

I continued reading and talking to people about it and then, one day I felt ready to put it all out.