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Disruption is constant; by definition, it drives in business reinvention — and never more than it has over the past year. And yet, some companies and people have thrived within all the chaos. In this episode of #WorkTrends, we’re discussing exactly how some organizations and their leaders have taken unforeseen chaos and turned it into a benefit they can leverage.
This is about more than “turning lemons into lemonade.” This is about competitive advantage.
Our Guest: Dr. Nadya Zhexembayeva, the “Reinvention Queen”
On our latest episode of the #WorkTrends podcast, Dr. Nadya — a renowned consultant, 4-time TEDx talker and 3-time author — joined us to provide insights on how the best organizations embrace chaos as they reinvent themselves. Her latest book, The Chief Reinvention Officer Handbook: How to Thrive in Chaos, is available now.
Dr. Nadya explained why disruption, chaos, and crisis — certainly constants in almost every business over the past 12 months — were actually a good thing. I then asked how business leaders can get more comfortable with chaos. Her answer helps us understand why we must look at change differently:
“In general, we don’t mind change. If you think about when a healthy baby is born, we love change. And you don’t need to offer that baby a bonus to start walking. They start walking because they like trying new things. But we educate our kids out of the love of change very early because we adults want to live in a stable world. Stories and proverbs tell us that change is bad, stability is good, and we should hold on to things that we have.” Dr. Nadya summed up this portion of our conversation succinctly when she said:
“We are not born averse to change. But we are educated to associate change with a threat.”
Business Reinvention: The Best Kind of Change
Dr. Nadya went on to say that for leaders and organizations to embrace change, we must forget what we think we know. “The solution is to start unlearning some of this learned behavior,” she said. “We must help our teams unlearn that behavior as well. Just launching that discussion will send the team in the right direction.”
From there, Dr. Nadya said, we must redefine “reinvention.”
“We are in an era where we must reinvent every two or three years — or less — to survive. Reinvention can no longer be a project; it’s a process — a cycle of renewal. Just like nature reinvents on a regular basis. You don’t see a tree standing in the fall and saying, ‘I’m not going to let go of the leaves I worked so hard to produce. I’m not going to let go of this process. I worked so hard to put this process together,” she said. Then she added:
“Nature invents and reinvents in a cyclical fashion, and today’s businesses must do the same.”
If you know me, you know I thrive on change. Still, this conversation helped put the willingness to embrace change in a different light. Be sure to listen in and then help your team or organization embrace business reinvention.
To learn more about Dr. Nadya’s work, connect with her on LinkedIn.