Business Disruptions as Opportunities

As organizations and leaders we are being faced with a variety of disruptors in the way we do things.  Look around and you will see disruptors such as changes in technology, different communication vehicles, advanced manufacturing/services processes and customer expectations.  We call these disruptions because they disrupt the way we typically approach what we do.

But are they disruptors, or are they opportunities?  It depends on how you look at it.

Let’s look at just a couple disruptors and see how you can turn them into opportunities.


The fact is, people are busy.  It’s hard to get face time with them and even harder to get them to answer the telephone.  The opportunity to be embraced is by alternative communication methods such as email, text and through social channels like LinkedIn or even Facebook.  Used correctly, these options provide channels to enhanced communication.  I often find myself leaving a voicemail but following up with an email or message through LinkedIn.  The individual may not return my call but will usually respond to one of my electronic messages.  It’s an opportunity to promote ongoing communication.

Customer Expectations

Customer needs continue to change, whether you are dealing with internal or external customers.  Customers are better educated about their world and often expect very specific products or services.  They are better prepared when having a conversation with you.  The option you have is to rest on what you have done in the past or to use this disruption as leverage to take your game to the next level.  It’s an opportunity to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and improve whatever you are delivering.

One of my favorite sayings is “the choice is yours”.  It rings true here.  Are you dealing with disruptions or opportunities?  The CHOICE IS YOURS!

By Todd McDonald, ATW Training Solutions


Are You a Maximizer or a Tweak Freak?

sitThe Clifton StrengthsFinder measures the presence of 34 talent themes. One of their themes is “Maximizer” which they define as: “People who focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.” Leaders with this strength can be invaluable to an organization that is committed to continuous improvement and excellence. It is an effective and motivating strength when it is productively applied. When it is not productively applied, the leader can become known as a “tweak freak.”

The “tweak freak” is the one who consistently comes around after the job is done and says, “You should have…” This is not stimulating, it is demotivating! In this scenario you run the risk of the employee thinking, “Why bother doing my best, when my best is never good enough?” If you know the best way to do something, either do it yourself or explain how you want it done before the employee exerts their effort only to be told afterward, “You should have…”

The leader who wishes to productively apply their Maximizer strength will offer or discuss their “tweaks” before the employee executes his or her plan. If you know you have a tendency to want to “tweak” your employee’s efforts after the fact, invite them to solicit your suggestions before they begin executing their plan. Encourage them to come early and be prepared to:

  • Explain their goal(s)
  • Lay out their plan
  • Ask for your suggestions or insights.

This will allow you to come across as the true Maximizer who stimulates them toward excellence. This way, they will be able to use your voice in their performance as they work on their project or assignment instead of dreading your “tweaks” after the fact.

When it comes to maximizing strengths, leaders might also be inclined to follow the Situational Leadership II approach, which is a leadership model we use in many of our classes that teaches leaders to diagnose the needs of an individual or team and then use the appropriate leadership style to respond to the needs of the person and the situation.

The goal of Situational Leadership and maximizing the strengths of leaders, employees, and even of organizations is to:

  • Develop leaders who excel at goal setting, coaching, performance evaluating, active listening, and proactive problem solving
  • Clarify individual goals and ensure alignment with the organization’s goals
  • Create systems to track performance and partnering
  • Reduce employee turnover and absenteeism
  • Increase “star” employee retention
  • Improve individual and organization development
  • Improve job satisfaction and morale at all levels
  • Create a shared language of leadership within an organization

By Roy Knicley and Denise Forney, ATW Training Solutions