Tue | Mar 20, 2018

Is Disruption The Answer?

Published:Sunday | May 21, 2017 | 12:00 AMTrevor Smith

A reader of my Bible In A Year posts likened King Jeroboam's decision to increase hardship on his people, in response to their plea to lighten the load, to 'disruptive leadership'.

'Disruptive leadership' is being advocated as a requirement for coping with today's rapidly changing environment. It is basically the capacity to see things from a different perspective and transforming related thoughts and actions.

Amazon.com's transformation of how books are sold and read is a classic example of disruptive leadership. How we take and share photos today is another example.

Noah was a trailblazing disruptive leader. His vision of the coming flood was widely viewed as lunacy. Moses was prodded to lead a dramatically different future for the Israelites than one of bondage in Egypt.

However, the ultimate demonstration of disruptive leadership was displayed by Jesus. An examination of some of His actions provides insights as to whether disruption is the answer for your situation.




Jesus had great clarity as to what the situation would be like after disruption. He had a vision of a transformed life.

On a personal level, if you have a burning desire to achieve more, then focus attention on defining what your transformed life looks like. The clearer that picture, the greater your ability to bring it to reality. Being unhappy with the status quo is not enough - a destination is vital.

At the organisational level, your vision and mission statements should really be descriptions of your post-disruption status - this is what life is like when the transformation is completed.




Jesus himself declared that He did not come to bring peace and that He would provoke disruption in families (Matthew 10:34-35). He warned His followers of persecution and was himself crucified.

Making progress through disruption is not without its challenges. Jeff Bezos left his well-paying job at a New York City hedge fund to embark on his journey at Amazon.

Interesting snippets of information have entered the media with respect to the fourth-ranked Jamaican netball team and the newly appointed coach. Whether by design or not, the leadership style and actions have produced some level of disruption. This is not an attempt by me to endorse or condemn the actions. It may be tied to the stated intention of breaking free of the perennial fourth-place ranking to being No.1. Transformation might produce upheaval.




Jesus made it clear that the vast majority would not accept the transformation that He was offering. "But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it." (Matt 7:14 NLT).

The implication for us as we seek transformation on a personal, family, group or organisational level is that we should not be unduly concerned about numbers. Do not depend solely on the level of popular support. If you seek comfort and assurance in numbers, you might lose sight of your destination and lose the courage to face the upheaval.




There was confusion among Christ's followers as to what He was about and how it would be manifested. You will encounter similar periods in your journey to transformation. The destination might be clear, but the path to it can be blurred and produce uncertainty. In a rapidly changing environment, there is often the need to identify new destinations midstream, which, in turn, might produce further confusion.

At the group or organisational level, this requires focused attention on speaking the truth, speaking it frequently and speaking it in person. Own up to missteps, explain changes, of course, and provide assurance as to the benefits of the transformed state.




Many powerful initiatives falter for lack of sustainable support. Jesus selected an inner circle that He trained to move the process forward. Work to give your transformation legs by getting buy-in and commitment from an inner circle.

- Trevor E. S. Smith is a behaviour modification coach with the Success with People Academy, home of the revolutionary FinxS Platform from Extended DISC. Hire smart with FinxS behavioural assessments. Conduct employee satisfaction surveys, 360 performance evaluations and team reports using logistics-friendly technology. Email: info@swpacademy.com.