Marie-Louise Zollinger's picture Submitted by Marie-Louise Zo... December 31, 2018 - 4:22pm


Effective coping with disruption in our exponentially changing times requires self‐leadership, agility, and the ability to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Disruption can be like a wake‐up call to full alertness and more awareness.

Disruption Brings Forth New Leadership Qualities

The highly volatile environment is pushing us out of our comfort zone. Thus new competences are needed for coping successfully with exponential disruptive change. Open-mindedness, clarity, courage, and agility are key for adjusting or reversing the focus when facing overwhelming challenges. Simplifying is essential to bring what needs attention to the foreground. With an open mindset, we are ready to embrace what is — to connect with ourselves, including noticing our emotions and being better able to manage the impact they have on us.

Mindset is powerful:
  •  Stay connected with your purpose and the magic of your essence to feel the pull
  •  Understand your priorities to focus only on what is important
  •  Listen to hear what others are contributing to gain new insights
  •  Adopt and integrate your learnings to progress
  •  Close what you want to let go and accept the loss that comes with choice to move on
  •  Take courageous decisions and be prepared to move forward step-by-step
Volatile Change Prompts Renewal and Awakens Creativity & Equanimity

Reconnecting with your own passion is like re-charging the batteries and enabling a process of updating, reinventing and realigning the Self. It is like installing a new operating system that is compatible with current demands, activating our resourcefulness by enabling new strengths while using them in genius new ways. This process is energizing and inspiring and allows us to experience a state of Equanimity.

Equanimity is a strong, calm presence, a serenity that comes from within. With practice we can go to that place of peace faster. We are quicker to get back into our productive mode, ready to engage with the people and the work around us with clarity — empowered and committed.
Being Resourceful in the Eye of the Storm

Individuals who are self-aware have the audacity to self-interrupt and self-disrupt themselves to create a jumping board for launching the next phase of self‐development. Self-leadership is a continuous process of renewal and growth. Maintaining the status quo is not an option. Everything is in motion and requires a process of adaptation by discarding, modifying and adding.

Mobilize your Inner Strength and Serenity when Feeling Pressure of Disruption:
  •  Breathe deeply to create calm presence and time to reflect (in the moment)
  •  Notice and name your feelings. Observe your reactions (under pressure)
  •  Appreciate and embrace what is there (regularly)
  •  Focus on listening to yourself/others without being hijacked by feelings or emotions (always)
  •  Decide — make an aware choice from options and backups you have (in time)


Disruption allows us each time to reconnect with our intentionality, to be fresh creators of our own destiny, while opening new opportunities with our key stakeholders in the process. We recognize that we have different choices and we become aware that we want to make them mindfully and in time. This is our ultimate freedom. With every choice there is a loss — a closure and a new beginning. In this way, we are all pioneers of our lives in a co-creative, emergent process.

Create Winning Sparring Partner Relationship(s):
  •  Stay connected and honest with yourself and each other
  •  Dialogue continuously with your key stakeholder(s)
  •  Agree on joint goals
  •  Understand and respect mutual expectations, including boundaries
  •  Grow together through timely feedback and feed-forward conversations

Be smart about knowing when to go fast and when to slow down. Allow yourself time to re-charge, take time to re-connect regularly with your purpose, goals and intentions. This is about the being and the doing for long lasting success.

The following disruption‐savvy qualities have emerged in my observations and experience. Set up your own navigation system and have a great journey.

Disruption Savvy Leadership Qualities Coping with Disruption Competence How to Exercise How to Stretch Self-Assessment / Did you ...
Clarity Enforces and invigorates the thrust of moving towards a goal ⇒ Understand what is important to you
⇒ Decide what is needed in the short and long‐term
⇒ Articulate what you care about
⇒ Make it concise and communicate it succinctly
⇒ Validate understanding from others
⇒ Check-­in on your time management
Focus Connects with purpose, bundles energy, creates drive, sets boundaries to distractions ⇒ Have clear goals (What)
⇒ Be clear about the why (Purpose)
⇒ Set priorities (How) in alignment with your vision and values
⇒ Say no
⇒ Do only what is important
⇒ Have courageous conversations
⇒ Achieve your ends
⇒ Feel free and self‐determined
⇒ Get trust and respect
Courage Enables authentic full engagement, provides mental and heart strength, makes it possible to overcome anxiety and fear ⇒ Have courageous conversations with yourself and others
⇒ Act from inner strength and with backbone
⇒ Be pulled by your vision and guided by your values
⇒ Go on unbeaten new paths
⇒ Pioneer new ideas
⇒ Move against the current
⇒ Sense integrity with your guiding principles
⇒ Feel a sense of progress and achievement
⇒ Have emotional courage
Open‐Mindedness Allows listening with all senses, gives freedom to surrender to what is, Causes curiosity and mindfulness, facilitates partnering to co‐create awesome solutions ⇒ Invite input from others
⇒ Listen to contributions
⇒ Collaborate with others
⇒ Explore your unconscious biases
⇒ Integrate inputs and feedback
⇒ Gain new insights & learning
⇒ Improve quality of relationships and team spirit
Confidence Encourages trust in yourself with all your abilities and potential, gets you beyond obstacles, creates trust and resonance ⇒ Breath – think – act
⇒ Make aware choices and grounded decisions
⇒ Be aware of your strengths and use them creatively
⇒ Stop to think before (re) acting
⇒ Allow solutions to emerge
⇒ Invite input from others
⇒ Act assertively in complex challenges
⇒ Feel inner piece
⇒ Feel motivated and engaged
Agility Facilitates responsiveness in face of strain, gives the tenacity to adapt and stay free from entrapment, mentally and emotionally ⇒ Clearly define your playing field
⇒ Recharge your batteries regularly
⇒ Make time to think
⇒ Anticipate your options and backups
⇒ Understand your stakeholders’ opportunities
⇒ Leverage your relationship network
⇒ Connect with your own (emotional) truth
⇒ Seize opportunities in disruptions
⇒ Lead change
⇒ Re‐invent parts of yourself
⇒ Be your best self in adverse circumstances
⇒ Take smart decisions under pressure
Simplicity Makes things clear and manageable, inspires others, creates freedom, emanates beauty ⇒ Apply your courage to leave out what is not important ⇒ Communicate concisely ⇒ Use your intuition and inner knowing when reflecting



Self-disruption is the realization that maintaining the status quo is not an option. Positive coping with disruption is about embracing the disruption fully and to actively self-disrupt courageously to constantly renew and innovate our way and joy of being and believing.

Key Messages on Coping with Disruptions:
  •  Accept disruptions as the new normal
  •  Determine your own pace with speeding up and slowing down your (re) actions
  •  Create space and time to see the presenting opportunities in the changes
  •  Connect with sparring partners to more clearly see and better leverage your strengths
  •  Stay tuned in with your vision and dreams to stay on track and to make the journey meaningful & enjoyable