This article can be found in my Fuel for Thought column in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Event Solutions magazine.
Fueled By: Disruption
By Liese Gardner
Disruption is the client who now has 500 guests instead of 250 or the budget that gets slashed two weeks before the event. Disruption is something not to fear but to thank. It keeps you strong, agile, and creative. It’s why we love to see Tom Colicchio throw a curveball at the Top Chef contestants mid-race.
We know disruption makes “good TV” but it also makes “good life” as it did for Steve Jobs. “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me,” he said. “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
Granted, for Jobs, his hand was forced. It’s hard to embrace the bump in the road when the highway is smooth. But even if it is, the excitement of reinventing one’s self and beliefs is powerful. It shakes off complacency and allows us to see and feel the world anew.
Starting from the Beginning
Take for instance, the case of the head master of Riverdale Country School in New York. Domenic Randolph is often called a disruptor for ideas he’s introduced to the curriculum having to do with issues deeper than the ABCs. Like Jobs’ rethinking, Randolph’s takes place at a beginner level ““ students. Tests, he contends, miss a serious part of what it means to be a successful human — character. He asks questions relevant not just for educators, but anyone trying to lead a thoughtful life. Can character ““ grit, curiosity, determination, zest, ethics — be taught?
Character is something that you, as people not just as event professionals, are judged on every day by your clients, your team, your peers and yourself. Every generation of event professionals (today millenials, Xers and Boomers are hashing it out in the workplace) has its own idea of character and that means new and ongoing discussions about work ethics, passion, economic needs, success, and yes, sometimes failure.
And I say “event professionals” but perhaps we can take the Jobsian approach and use the term “event beginners.” The lightness of beginning again disrupts old habits and allows us to relearn who we are, revive curiosity, rethink failure, and most important, reinvent it all into success.
Photo by Stephen Wilkes. Tape Installation by Stephen Doyle