Everyone is talking about disruption. Disruption of the markets, disruption of the global order, disruption of technology, disruption of the economy, disrupt or get disrupted, disrupt yourself, disrupt or die. We have been disrupted and we are being disrupting.

Disruption has become one of the most critical phenomenon of our times. We say disrupt so many times, some would ask has it been overused? I do not believe so, however, sometimes we perceive this disruptive world as a world for another person or another industry. We must make disruption relevant to our own world of business events, our market place and how must we adapt as leaders to understand the disruptive world in which we operate. It can be overwhelming! The old way of doing things is being buried under new technologies that shift destroy and rebirth tremendous newness.Let’s embrace it.

Disruption is now the new normal – what is your responsibility?
Mobile, social, cloud and big data technologies, 3D printing, internet of things, block chain technologies, smart cities, smart cars, smart health, smart energy – we have entered a new era where the old order is simply gone. The disruption is now the new normal. The meetings Industry is the facilitator of change – we create the meeting grounds where disruptive ideas are shared, knowledge is disseminated to people who transport these new ideas back to their cities who in turn act upon them to create positive change. Through our meetings, we are witness to the constant change across many industries, but how are we being disruptive? We have an enviable vantage point from where we have visibility of change across many industries. The questions we need to ask ourselves, are we leveraging this position, what should our leadership look like now? What is our responsibility to effect change in our Industry first and then within society? When you are disrupted, it is already too late As leaders, we need to be adaptive and visionary in our thinking to create impact within our lifetime. Rather than be the facilitator of change, can we be the vehicle of change?

A shift in thinking
There is far too much emphasis in today’s businesses on continuity and far too little on introducing deliberate discontinuity—ideas and concepts inconsistent or in direct conflict with what currently makes a business or an industry successful. We can become stuck in a pattern in how we do things. The same thinking that gets you into a situation is not the thinking that will get you out of it. Shift the thinking! It is not enough to just disrupt your thoughts you also need to disrupt the status quo of the business or even the Industry.

Dare to be brave
It’s only if we dare that we can create new things. Every day is the start of something new. But this is mind-set and human behaviour. If we are successful, we tend to look towards the past and think that yesterday’s success will create tomorrow’s success as well. This is not necessarily true and if I am honest, a little arrogant. I followed that path once. An economic and banking crisis taught me a valuable lesson. I will never create a future based on a past again. The tricky bit is the present as this is the only bit we have knowledge of. The hard part is the future. The future becomes guess work. A good description of the present is the best starting point for making a new future. But what will be the future we create for the meetings industry and, do YOU want to be part of that change?
Do you want to be a disruptive leader? Disruptive leadership is about disrupting yourself first. Understanding your standards and your leadership potential is a critical starting point. Are you willing to battle the inertia of the status quo? What are your true values as a leader, how do you want to operate in your market place and where are you heading? When you understand how you tick, then you can focus your attention on others. How to understand another person is to step into their world. The potential for reinvention and accelerated change is within everyone’s grasp.

It’s a matter of
1. Creating an awareness and a willingness to change
2. Investing a lot of time for reinvention
3. Choosing the right people to implement change
4. Bringing the non-changers with you or not 5 Realise the change in a staged approach

Disruptive thinking can help you as a leader to create value, differentiation and identify new ways to support long-term growth. Merging the tried and tested with the new and bold isn’t easy, but the importance of doing so is undeniable. The business that goes in the direction of the familiar will ultimately breed inertia. Complacency is dangerous in business and leadership because it leaves no room for alternative possibilities

Choosing the right People
What was once measured in money is increasingly measured in people. It is people’s ability to innovate, to be disruptive that is the basis for all growth and progress. Be it the banking industry, food industry or the meetings industry, the principal is the same. The person or people who dare to go first are the game changers to drive progress.

To quote my hero Nelson Mandela
There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way.

To all leaders in the business of events, let me repeat my question in paragraph one.
As leaders, we need to be adaptive and visionary in our thinking to create impact within our lifetime.
Rather than be the facilitator of change, can we be the vehicle of change?

Article by:
Nicola Mc Grane, CEO, Conference Partners International