Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Emotion is necessary

Emotion is hard-wired into our systems. Did you know that we cannot make a decision if we do not start from a place of emotion?

In a professional setting, the word "emotion" conjures up images of tears or anger usually. Those are the extremes and not the norm. We are human. To be logical doesn't mean to ignore emotion; it means to acknowledge, understand and then make a choice on how to use it (or not) within our response.

Sometimes, simply acknowledging a feeling shows more intelligence and leadership than pretending that a professional setting is inhabited by Vulcans only.
Image result for vulcan ears

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mentoring yourself

Image result for cheer pom poms clipartLet's take our inner critic and per her to good use!  I'm tired of mine mumbling about how my eyeliner is crooked or my time wasting only got books read and no laundry done. (she's very hard on me.) My inner critic rolls her eyes a lot, sigh in great exasperation and occasionally sounds like my mom.

I'm hard on my mentorees too. However, I offer advice and corrections with love, support and the best of intentions.... an approach I don't often offer myself.

I need correction. I need some criticism even though I don't like it. It is useful to be able to give yourself feedback.

We can do all this with a little understanding and encouragement instead of the usual "oh I'm such an idiot!" and other inner stories of the same type.

Think of it as mentoring yourself.

  • Getting it right the first time is less important than trying/practicing
  • Talk through successes so they can be repeated easily
  • Talk through mistakes or course corrections so they can be done differently in the future
  • Let go of the things that make you roll your eyes at yourself if you'll never have to face the same situation/challenge again. Move on!
  • Look at your daunting plans with your inner critic and remind both of you of the strengths you possess that will help you in the rough spots
  • Remember to cheer yourself on for no reason at all except you were there
We share with respect and kindness; let's include ourselves in the coaching. 

Monday, November 20, 2017


Deaths, illnesses, divorce (singular), disappointments - we all have those stories which showcase our ability to bounce back and continue. We also have stories of success which require resilience - like a sugar crash after eating a whole birthday cake (true story!),  the letdown and thoughts of 'how can That be topped ever again?' can be just as difficult. 
Resilience is a great topic to discuss in a mentoring conversation. Uncover your fears, your strengths and your questions.
My latest story is wonderful view of seeing my son launched into the world as an adult. After 25+ years of having his care in my hands - directly and, later, indirectly - seeing him take on his latest career and find his strengths made me proud, happy and grateful. Then I sat back and thought.... now what? What's the point in the job I have? The relationships? The house? ... you get the idea. While I made the best choices for both myself and my son at the time, I found that pleasure in his independence also meant a crack in my supposedly solid foundation. 
So I'm stepping out into the void... watch me go!!​

Monday, November 13, 2017


I worked for a manager who had his issues - he was abrupt, impatient and directorial. But if you fulfilled a request, he always responded with "thx!"

Some folks may feel this simply acknowledges receipt of the work. Some have said it was a knee-jerk habit that held no meaning. Some grumbled that he could not be sooo busy that typing the extra letters in "thank you" was a chore. Regardless of the motivation (and I believe he was genuinely saying thanks), he said it.

It isn't a raise. It's not a big hug. It doesn't touch the extra hours it may have taken or how I juggled my schedule. It's certainly not a gift certificate for shoes. Heck, it's not even as a good as a handwritten post-it note. Yet, it has value.

He acknowledged that I contributed - every time.

In this current day of 10-12 hour work days, online language abbreviations, multi-tasking commutes and compressed sleep schedules, things slip. At the best of times, we can only present snapshots of our thinking to each other. In today's craziness, we're reduced to a few choice pixels.

Make 'thank you' one of them....with or without the extra letters.

Monday, October 23, 2017

At IABC in Kelowna!

Further to the survey begun last month, I'm at the IABC conference in gorgeous Kelowna, BC this week. (We are continuing to collect responses until December so please feel free to contribute!)

The more we looked into the questions around how the digital tidal wave is changing our working lives (and not just our work spaces and tools), the more obvious it became that many professions are asking the same questions about the immediate future:

  • Do we all need to become programmers?
  • Will smarter machines - from the coffee pot to the servers in the data warehouses - mean job loss?
  • What's the new normal in the workplace for communicating on projects, with executives and with each other?

When the chips are down, relationships and communicating across them can be our only tools.
Why then is communication itself not being called out as a key skill to develop?
Why is communication strategy not figuring prominently as part of what needs augmentation and sponsorship?
Yes, communicators are calling this out... but folks are used to this message from that contingent.

We need to reframe the conversation to include the other professions. Communicators can facilitate and support the other areas in addressing the new demands for better soft skills - communication being the prime area of focus throughout all the change.

More on this to come... waiting to hear what our Kelowna crowd has to add to this idea!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Little changes to make today

It's the little changes that make the biggest difference.

  • Saying "Yes, and..." instead of "no" or "yes, but..."
  • Finishing a meeting 5 minutes before the allotted close time as a regular practice
  • Smiling as you answer the phone
  • Pushing away from the computer for 5 minutes every hour 
  • Leaving "thank you" off the email sign off and instead as a genuine note after an action is completed
  • Writing or doodling with a coloured pen/pencil to keep your brain firing during a meeting
  • At end of day, remembering something you did correctly

Doing just one of these changes our mindset and, sometimes, that of those around us.
Mentoring ourselves is as important as anything else!

Image result for small change

Monday, September 25, 2017

7 minute survey: Your opinion on changing 21st century employee communication

I am doing an interesting personal project and I hope you can participate. Feel free to share the message and link below broadly in Canada or the US.  The survey is not just for communication specialists but for everyone -leaders in all disciplines - to contribute ideas. I will share the results starting in November.

We need your ideas and approaches on employee engagement and innovative internal use of digital and collaborative tools. Help us begin research in support of digital communication effort and skills needed in the next 2-to-3 years to stay relevant and timely.
To participate in the survey (available in English or French) please click:

Much of my portfolio over the past 20 years has focused on change management and employee engagement. Many communication and engagement surveys feature trends in the US and Europe and, while similar, Canadian culture and laws (e.g. overtime and privacy) are unique and can impact our use of digital tools at work as both employees, communicators and leaders. 

Working with communications expert Mary Jane Martin (MJ Martin and Company), and with the help of Leger Marketing, we developed a survey to examine the use of digital communication tools today in Canada.  We will share our findings starting in November. 

To participate in the survey (available in English or French) click here

Monday, September 18, 2017

Dress code rules

The more someone tries to nail good taste, common sense or judgment to the floor, the more ridiculous the effort becomes.

"Ensure no lingerie shows at any time."
Does that include the camisole peeking out to hide my cleavage? Because frankly, I'd rather show off the girls and not be tugging down the cami every hour as it rides up my rib cage.

"Hemlines should be below your fingertips."
Because all our arms / torsos etc. are a uniform length and being able to not touch one's hemline is a true measure of worth and respectability.

Over the years, dress codes have and will change. If there is a need (e.g. safety) for a rule, then follow it. If someone is simply trying to dictate a view of a workplace that does not include diversity (in thought and expression) then question it!

Aside from the fact that women are often urged to dress in a way that men can contain their primal urges (reflecting badly on both genders), until they issue me a comfy fleece onesy uniform, here are my 'rules to dress at work.'
  • Don't wear clothing that you'd wear to the beach or for gardening, etc.
  • Don't be spilling out of either the top or bottom of your outfit (or middle)
  • Ragged holes usually are a no-no 
  • Start the day clean, unwrinkled and stain-free
Yes, that's all common sense but not everyone can find sense when they're tired or on a tight budget. 

There are 3 guidelines to consider:
1 - Know what's appropriate for the situation.
Usually that's set by the tone of the event, meeting or workplace. Often there are suggestions "Business Casual"... sometimes there are specific items listed "No clamdiggers"  (I'm not kidding). 
When I work with not-for-profit administrators, I point out that when relationships first form we need to put folks at ease. Since we first connect on the visual, mirroring body language and dressing to loose business guidelines is a quick and easy way to say "I get where you're coming from" off the top. The differences will emerge soon enough.

However, do not limit your creativity or put yourself in a uniform if that's not your thing. Think of 'appropriate' as the polite manners of the workplace, like adding "please", "thank you" and "may I call you by your first name?".  
2 - Know your personal style and don't give it up, just adapt it.
Ask yourself - what image do I want to project?
If you're not sure what your style is, stick closer to the suggestions the event/workplace offers around #1. Play it safe. If you are aware of your style - use it. Graphic print wrap dresses or beautiful necklaces keep me sane.
Those who tell women to dress in conservative colours and cuts are trying to downplay gender. No one tells guys not to wear crazy socks, ill-tailored pants or cool two-tone wingtips. Feel good in what you wear, including heels if you can actually walk in them (have a friend follow you to check).
If you don't feel happy in what you're wearing - shoes that pinch, pants that pull, an itchy sweater or feeling like you're wearing a disguise - you won't have as good a day. Our image inside and out should be confident, comfortable and in control and reflect how we wish to be seen.

3 - Ask someone you trust if you are not sure.
Don't just go to folks who dress like you and look for validation. Pick someone who has a style you admire and ask for their opinion.

Image result for historical dress codes

Monday, September 11, 2017

Personal rules - use your mentor

We all have personal rules: colours we will wear; foods we will eat; household habits; social outings. When we think about breaking rules, we do not often consider breaking our own. However, our personal rules are created from a mix of necessity (e.g. allergies), fears (e.g. discomfort) and habit... which means some of them are open to being challenged.

Personal rules can get in the way of your professional career. From how we choose to present ourselves visually, to how comfortable we are in sharing our successes or goals, we can get in our own way.

This is where a mentor can help. Mentoring is not about creating new tasks and rules; it is about helping you identify strengths and long-term goals. A mentor can then challenge habits and choices that might be hindering or outdated and support us in selecting new options to try.

Remember, every rule can be challenged except this one.

Image result for rules

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Break rules

Break your own rules.
Break the rules of others.
Break rules.
Make guidelines that respect choice and independent thought.
Break every rule except this one.

Sounds like a poem for chaos and anarchy?

With amazing posts like Phoebe Holmes on her blog Herding Cats writing about fashion faux-pas based solely on age to amazing books like Break Your Own Rules (2011), it is apparent that there are many rules that bind us.

Hidden rules like who gets up to make the coffee. Overt rules like 'cover your grey hair.' Silly rules like older women shouldn't wear mascara on bottom lashes.

I am tired of rules. Yes, we need some guidelines as sense and judgment require support and experience. Yes, things that are physically dangerous need to be called out.

I would like to ensure the 'why' of the rules serves a purpose beyond telling me to be docile and accepting.

Monday, August 14, 2017

"No" is not a bad word

I just read yet another post about how to sugarcoat a "no."  The posts are endless with advice: use positive language; watch for your own negative reactions; delegate instead of outright refusal.... 

"No" is a useful word; there's nothing wrong with it. Just say "No;" it is okay!

"No" is as ubiquitous as "um.." The real issue is that we are conditioned to think of "no" as meaning "maybe"  because we often use the word to buy time, create space and consider options both at work and while parenting. 

Knowing that folks won't take a straight 'no' as seriously as I'm offering it, here's how I annoy people into going to ask someone else.

Alternate scenarios for when "no" doesn't work @work:

"Flattered that you think you need my help! What exactly do you believe I can contribute? Or does this just need an immediate warm body?"  (I didn't say no, I just made it harder for them to dump and run. Unless they can answer the question and then I know I'm genuinely needed)

"That sounds like something I don't know how to do. Will you be sitting with me while I do it?" (Same as above and I'm ok with looking out of my depth some times)

"Excellent. I can do that in about 3 weeks. If you need it faster, you might have to find someone else?" (Either I'm the right person to do it or they just need a warm body...)

"Sure, I can do that. X and X will go on hold till I'm done. Let me know if we have sign off to delay before I start?" (Seriously, this works)

"No. I appreciate your need, I really do. I am not the right person/ timing is poor / etc." (Some days one just says "no"... without a but...)

Any other good ideas out there?

PS> For a great perspective on how to use the word "no" effectively, start with Barbara Coloroso and her take on parenting with the word "no."

Monday, July 31, 2017

To discuss in a mentoring session

A good mentoring session can take the conversation past the immediate concerns and move it into longer term goals and awareness.

Topics to raise:

  • "Ins and Outs" of industries or organizations that might be worth exploring for networking or partnership reasons
  • Locating other folks in other industries or organizations with whom you could have a tea and build your community
  • ‘Safe places’ to explore a dream or plan - with mapping a direct path being secondary to discussing fit and purpose
  • Sharing guidance, advice and encouragement (and the occasional smack to the head as I required this week - thanks Terri!) for career, balancing work and personal, being a woman in the work force, etc.
  • Practice “soft/communication skills” - listening, questioning, offering feedback, introductions, etc.
  • Turn the tables and discuss a mentor's current challenge
  • Research and how it might affect our work -  Edelmans Trust Barometer report, a Gartner report etc... or even a book "Getting to Yes" or "Break Your Own Rules"

Monday, July 24, 2017

Providing a context

The management of most things is about providing a context - a report, a framework, principles, etc.

We need context or we will fill that void with our own stories. The "why" of decisions and the "how" of integrating the decision (or its consequence) is management.

That makes looking at change - personal or project - simpler. Sometimes the 'what' - the change itself - is out of our control. A context may not have us like it /agree with it any more than we already do but it will help us understand and accept / incorporate / act on it.

  • If a parent changes a curfew, the teen is liable to make up their own reasons for the new requirement unless the context for the decision is shared.
  • If a budget total seems inconsistent month to month, a report provides context for the variance.
  • If new technology impacts a job, the principles its application will support adoption.

With context, a conversation can be held.

To manage, don't withhold context. To mentor, show how to create context by offering frameworks yourself.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Do you have these problems?

The news is carrying something like these articles every week... sometimes every day.
There is a problem, Houston....

In Canada, women earn 87 cents on the dollar - up 10 cents since 1981.

Sexual harassment is alive and well in North America.

Technology is still not friendly to all women.

These are not one-off occurrences. These situations may not be your personal situation but that doesn't mean they are not happening. 

We do not need to agree on the issues. We need to support each other's voices for the battles we choose to fight. How are you helping women get their voices heard?

reposting: Tech & Science jobs & women

It's a debate that comes up a lot. The papers often say that jobs are still opening in the technology sector(s), the counselors are telling the teens to look at technology; the recruiters tell us there is a 'war for talent' and yet many remain unconvinced.

While I believe there is space for women in the IT sector and that just about everyone should do one turn of some sort in a technology area to really look at what's underpinning most industries, there are some interesting arguments around pay, gender and what even defines true technology.

posting by Philip Greenspun (whose blog is up-to-date but this posting is one of his older ones) looks at the financial implications of seeking jobs in mathematics or scientific fields - more on the academic and research (R&D) side but still interesting. He examines a "fourth possible explanation for the dearth of women in science: They found better jobs." Greenspun then goes on to examine how a career in R&D math/science tracks against other choices.

"Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it." -- Albert Einstein

Toss into the mix the current saying that one should follow one's passion and the money will come. What if the field doesn't have the money? Pure arts, pure mathematics... As a mentor, do you counsel folks to follow their heart or their wallets? Are we forced to choose between the two? 

Daniel Pink and Richard Florida both write about how money cannot be the prime motivating factor for any knowledge worker. While we need to feed and shelter ourselves (and our families), not all the reward can come from the paycheque itself.

So - are careers primarily a matter of being very practical or a path with chosen meaning?

I think steps/jobs along the way of a chosen path should be done with your head -  but the overall career/direction should come from your desires and dreams. (Which means that a side journey or deliberate path through technology can still fit a plan)

Monday, July 10, 2017

What are "women-only" issues in the workplace?

For most issues folks name, someone will say "But that also applies to..." and they're often correct:
  • Sexual harassment (yes, it still happens)
  • Glass ceiling
  • Not being listened to
  • Tokenism
  • Single parent balancing act
  • Pay equity
  • Lack of visible role models at senior levels. etc.
Some days it appears the only women's issue is:

  • Considered a bitch if acting forcefully

While the issues may not only apply to women, it's certainly women who carry the larger burden of them. Discussions around these ongoing struggles need to acknowledge that women most often bear the cost/ suffer the consequences. However, that doesn't mean potential solutions should only be available to women.

Women's issues are not just gender-based issues.; women's issues in the workplace can cross many diversity lines. So any good ideas that help women should be open to everyone. Why not start with women though? Why not use women as the pilot/ test group for solutions which can, if successful, be made available to everyone? This would allow the workplace to acknowledge the largest working group they have, the issues and then share the success.

Wouldn't it be terrific if women could sponsor solutions for everyone such as flexible work hours, career coaching, daycare options and mentoring groups? Build a place where women love to work and everyone might enjoy working there.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Debating is good

We can't strengthen our ideas if we only talk to people who agree with us.

Simplistic? Possibly. But when was the last time you - as a mentor or mentoree - sought out a dissenting opinion?  When did debate become a bad thing? Why is it necessary to dismiss the feedback of all nay-sayers?

Scientific theory thrives on attempting to disprove itself, not prove. (I won't attempt to explain Popper's theory but I recommend reading about it)

"Winning" the debate should not be about everyone agreeing or anyone being silenced. Marriage was defined for years as between a man and a woman and debate has brought us to a new(er) definition. Not all agree. Opinions are still forming in all areas, including mainstream. It was debate that was part of bringing about change.

Ideas are about change. Debate creates views into that change so we can manage the necessary adjustments with some foresight and perspective on the opinions helping/hindering transformation. 

Welcome debate. Listen to be heard even more strongly!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Say "Yes" for a day

Image result for no

Here's a way to twist your brain.

Try to go one whole day without saying "no". Try not to start a sentence with no. Try to not interrupt someone by saying no. Try not to say no when you mean and or but or hang on.

Try to consciously say "yes" instead.  "Yes and..."  "Yes if what you mean is..." "Yes, I will think about that." 

But if you can't manage not saying no - then see if you can spend the day agreeing with the ideas and opinions presented and build on them instead of pointing out the holes (shore them up instead of tearing them down), you'll find a lot more folks saying yes to you well past the day spent in a no zone!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Studies (and rumours) have shown that mentoring and networking is tied to competency & success. However, no one ever talks about the fact that mentoring isn't easy.

Mentoring poses a few problems:

1 - it’s hard to mentor. It’s hard to put a process (thought, procedure or administrative) to how you got somewhere or achieved something. It’s much harder if you’ve ever tried to repeat a specific success. And even harder when you understand how much personal style plays a factor.

2 - it’s hard to be mentored. It’s easy to get advice but much harder to take it. 

3 - most importantly - mentoring isn’t a guarantee of success. It’s not a magic pill or a silver bullet

However, it is also true that you will be more successful if you add mentoring. No one ever says "mentoring held me back!"

Monday, May 29, 2017

Some "do not do" thoughts

So here’s a few “do not do” thoughts for today:

  1. Don’t seek advice unless you actually want it. 
  2. Don’t seek advice because someone else tells you you need it unless you believe that to be true.
  3. Don’t seek advice unless you’re prepared to try it.
  4. Don’t seek advice only from those who will tell you what you want to hear.
  5. Don’t seek advice for areas that don’t truly hold your interest or from people you do not respect.
  6. Don't offer advice unless unless someone wants it.
  7. Don't offer advice you are not prepared to try yourself.
  8. Don't offer advice unless you are willing to help with the implementation.

Sometimes it's okay to just take advice from yourself. :-)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Be Remembered

How do you wish to be remembered? I don’t mean when you’re dead – but after you’ve left the room? 

First, don’t confuse remembered with memorable. You don’t have to stand out and shine every time. Memorable might best be saved for speaking engagements, great nights out and a great shoe score. 

Being remembered can be that 
• your name is kept in mind
• your idea was considered
• your personality was noted
• your offer was mulled over

Being remembered simply means you made a sincere emotional connection with someone. It doesn’t have to be life altering. Perhaps you made them smile. Perhaps you offered sincere comments or made eye contact. Maybe you just listened with all your attention.

Part of your impression comes in your introduction, some in how you participate in conversation and some in your follow up to a meeting or coffee. You have three clear opportunities to be remembered. Plan for them. Make the most of them. Like any good habit - prepare and do it regularly.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Success to me is...

Success is not measured by how many hours you put in or how many projects went in under your watch. It is measured by the legacy you leave which has rippled outward and the value you provided along the way through both your influence, relationships and achievements. 

Aim high. Build communities. Expect participation. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Simple language = Clear thoughts

Stories do not always need long introductions.
Ideas do not always require adverbs and adjectives to get buy-in.
Longer explanations should come after the listener has requested more detail.

While studies show that listening skills are some of the most valued in business, many do not make it easy on the listener.

Can you state your main message - the one thing your audience must know - in one sentence?

It takes practice.
It is similar to the thesis statement we hated writing in grade 10 English class.
It is the sizzle - the heart - of capturing attention in a business world.

Say your idea/message simply to show your thinking as crisp and precise.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Advantages of older women

Older women might
  • Laugh and sometimes pee a little at the same time (go ahead, guys, try it...)
  • Look down at their less than perfect tummies and think "a baby came out of there" or "that was a meal worth having"
  • Get a tattoo and have no one ask how it will look when they're wrinkled 
  • Forgo "period" undies and wear pretty ones every day
  • Wear cool vintage by shopping in the back of their own closets
  • Have a long loud belly laugh without embarrassment
  • Wear blue-hair and make it really blue... or turquoise... or even purple
  • Act "immaturely" and have it called "being young at heart"
Perhaps most importantly
  • Have nothing to prove while maintaining a drive to learn
  • Mentor and be mentored with little ego and lots of insight
  • Understand that work/life balance is simply prioritizing & choices
  • Believe that being grown up does not mean being static or finished
  • Allow themselves to choose based on interests & passions vs. peer pressure or manager preference
Anything to add?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Disruption and Innovation – Identical or Fraternal Twins?

Are disruption and innovation different?

In business today, both words have been hyped to the point of becoming generic qualifiers or buzzwords. Checking the dictionary does not help; the meanings do not provide a context in which a person or company can promote their idea or product.

In March 2017, I had the opportunity to chair a conference where many of the panelists touted the ability of their institutions to disrupt and innovate. We had a panel on "Lessons from Disruptive Industries" but no one could define disruption and what made it unique from the innovation and evolution seen in every industry. How can we share a lesson when we are not agreed on its message and application?

I proposed a working definition for disruption as:
A smaller group with fewer resources - and a radically different business model /unconstrained by current business model - challenges the incumbent(s) for business/customers. When a non-participant, community or customer adopts the new entrant, disruption occurs.

This presents basic assumptions which further draw a line between the two concepts:

·        Disruptors begin with few or no customers/consumers
·        Disruption takes the community beyond an individual product offering to include the process and all surrounding infrastructure, from technology to governance and related industry(s)
·        Disruptors experiment, introducing uncertainty or chaos to related industries and may birth new ones
·        Disruptors may fail completely, including the fragile new infrastructure being built
·        Disruption brings new habits and behaviours for all participants - disruptors and their consumers
Therefore innovation implies product/process introduction or iteration and has a precedent in an established business model and resourcing.

Why does this matter?

Like their hard-working cousins "transformation" and "change," the concept of disruption and innovation only has tangible meaning when we can articulate their scale and context - which then allows us to understand successful application.
1.      Language sets expectations.
·        We can use the words we want as long as we check that we have assigned the same meaning and implications. We may both say "red" but that does not mean we are envisioning the same colour
2.      Exploration of an idea must include a discussion of assumptions.
·        We can't share a goal if we don't agree to its terms
3.      Most importantly - by its very nature, the risk profile of disruption is different from innovation (large or small).
·        How can we plan and navigate a process if we cannot understand the inherent risk and benefit structure?

What could this definition look like in real life?

Music: People have been listening to music for centuries. Music has advanced and expanded - from its styles to its instruments, evolving over millennia.

In the late 1970s, the Sony Walkman made music portable. I remember my dad being one of the first adopters and his painstaking hours spent moving his reel-to-reel collection to cassettes. While my son would view anything less than wireless streaming as hopelessly outdated, he will never know the joy of being literally unplugged from a stereo system.

There are some who would claim that this began a rejigging of the entire industry – a disruption. However, it was (and streaming remains) an innovation. The business model was established – manufacturing, branding, licensing, etc. models were in place. While the business model has continued to evolve in response to consumer demands and habits, it is still an innovation. Walkmans (and streaming) don't require new audiences or conversions of non-music lovers. The distribution of the money may be in flux but that is business-as-usual.

If the Walkman had failed, the music business would have kept chugging along. The risk was measurable and absorbable in the bigger scheme of the industry.

Light bulbs: We have been using light for as long as we've been listening to music. Personally, I bet music has been around longer. The gentlemen who perfected the lightbulb (approx. 1878) created disruption.

While electricity existed, there was no electricity grid or electric transformers in place; that would come over the next 50+ years, from installing NYC streetlamps late 1882 to the passing of a Federal Power Act and The Public Utility Holding Co Act in 1935. That year, a baseball game was played under electric lights for the first time.

With no were no lamps waiting with empty sockets, no government or safety standards for use or manufacturing (AC or DC?), new industries and infrastructures were created.  Housing, city and factory design was rethought. Consumers emerged from all communities.

If the lightbulb had failed, imagine our world today. We might still have computers and light (and music) but with the introduction of the lightbulb, electric development pace increased, new business models emerged and the gas light industry is dead.

Put your idea to the test
Disruption and innovation are both necessary. Help supporters understand what you are doing and the risks involved.

Disruption aims to…
Innovation aims to…
Transform (full fairy-godmother-to-the-ball-effort)
Change (something different on a large or small scale)
Introduce element of chaos
Introduce element of uncertainty
Begin with few or no customers/consumers
Begin in established industry
Turn  non-participants into participants
Deepen relationship with existing community and invite new participants
Envision a new business model
Operate within an existing business model
Experiment & accept failure
Improve  & accept measured risk profile
Introduce new behaviours, policies, thinking, etc. to multiple and potentially unrelated communities and industries
Influence, change or replace habits and policies in limited, related communities, industries
Is often a catalyst for innovation in other areas
Reflects evolution and can spur change in related areas

So what's next?
At the conference, it became obvious that those of us being disruptive and/or trying to push an innovation agenda can work together. The workforce is changing, along with technology and global politics to the point where status quo means sliding backward. To embrace and embed the fraternal twins, Disruption & Innovation, we need to understand their different natures and measurements and then apply our ideas as hard as our risk tolerance allows!