Stand Out!

Dare to Disrupt the Status Quo, Think Like an Outsider and Up Skill You

No new normal

The future remains uncertain and lacks complete clarity. Life and work have not completely normalized, and it’s unlikely they will. Remote is not going away, back to office remains in limbo and hybrid seems to be the most accepted path forward. 

So what can you do to stand out and advance in the midst of the ongoing blur? Upskill and improve your impact.

How connected are you to the people at work?

The Status Quo

The most reliable, time-tested performance driver is engagement. So the question is, “How engaged are you in the work you do?” And, “How connected are you to the people you work with and for?”

Stand-out brands, managers and team members are intentional about fostering team chemistry and being accountable for achieving and advancing performance goals. But what gets in the way?

The status quo, the routine and the comfort zone get in the way. They are designed to protect themselves. Change wields fear and it is a powerful source for holding people back. The key to disrupting the status quo, changing and advancing is to breathe in courage and exhale fear.

When you stop bringing something innovative and exciting to the game, the game is over.


Disruption rarely comes from within because comfort fools us into believing we should trust the tried, tested and proven ways of doing things. The result? Mimicry— all you achieve is copies or “me-too” versions of performance standards, solutions, products and services, nothing innovative or new! Mimicry is hardly a recipe for adding value, growing and advancing. 

Disruptors think like outsiders, train like crazy and compete differently. Disruptors don’t care about the old rules. They look for ways to think outside the box and they dare to offer something novel and creative. 

Disruptors think like OUTSIDERS

What if you commit to thinking and acting like an outsider or an innovator?

What if, instead of being held back by the status quo and the uncertainty, you move with a sense of urgency?

What if you breathe in courage and say, “YES” to new ideas, new relationships, new business models—and you step beyond the status quo to grow, advance and change?

Here are 7 strategies for becoming a courageous disruptor.

1. Dare to think like an innovator

Every one of us is creative. Ignore your creative desire at your own risk. With all the new tools of technology, anyone can create Web sites, stream videos, record music, make playlists, customize cars, and podcast to the world. We all have a deep and unique need for creative expression.  

Why not use your unique creative expression at work, find an outlet and re-invent yourself to have a greater impact? What skill, what talent is worth refining and growing in you? And who might be a great collaborator in bringing that creative expression to life at work?

2. Dare to question the Unquestionable

Think like an outsider. Challenge and rethink your taken-for-granted assumptions about—how the industry works, what competitors do, what customers expect, and what your team is truly capable of doing. Host a team meeting or an offsite team retreat to rethink and reimagine any tired assumptions that may be holding you back.

3. Dare to embrace limitations

Limitations come in all shapes and sizes: Functional. Financial. Regulatory. Geographical. Political. Are these limitations a challenge or a curse? Asset or liability? It’s a choice. It takes courage to embrace limitations as opportunities and challenge the status quo.

Again, disruption is a choice! Constraints can call forth cleverness and become a springboard to creativity or they can inspire fear and paralyze you. Limitations can drive you toward simplicity and force you to do more with less in ingenious ways or they can become a convenient excuse for doing nothing. Limitations can push you past the first, easiest answer to a more elegant, hard-for-your-competition-to-replicate solution. 

Courageous disruptors don’t moan about limitations they find ways to rethink and move beyond limitations.

4. Dare to trade BEST practices for NEXT practices

BEST practices are deceiving. Because the best you are ever going to be following someone else’s best practice is a good #2. And standing out requires more than second place. Standing out comes from NEXT practices and next practices are the result of disruption. The caveat is this. Sometimes a version of a best practice in another industry can become a next practice in you and in how you do business. Disruptors think next they do not rest on best and they have the curiosity, humility and courage to borrow from outside their industry.

5. Dare to borrow from outside your industry

Where do new ideas come from? Well, they rarely come from the routine of life, sitting in the same office, talking to the same people and looking at the same computer screens day after day. 

And spending the majority of your time with people who share your beliefs and assumptions doesn’t unleash your creativity. Routine doesn’t promote discovery or diversity. It leads to closed-mindedness and sharpens your biases and prejudices. Some of your most elegant solutions will come from places outside your industry and your comfort zone. Disruption requires you to broaden your perspective and expand your network. 

If you want to upskill and grow your impact act like a researcher and be curious to the core. Go on reconnaissance missions to discover and experience best practices. Look outside your comfort zone (network, company, industry) and have the guts to ask, explore, look for insights, strategies, and ideas to borrow and apply to advancing you and your team.

6. Dare to get comfortable being UNcomfortable

Game-changing. Disruptive. Breakthrough. All words used to describe innovation. Think about it, to create a “breakthrough” innovation you have to break stuff. You have to break old processes and approaches. You have to let go of yesterday’s big idea or perhaps the business model you’re comfortable with and we all know breaking things is messy. And innovation offers you no guarantees. That makes everyone uneasy. But there is rarely any growth unless you get outside your comfort zone.  

Courage is a learned practice of discomfort. And let’s face it, stepping outside your industry and your network is risky and uncertain so naturally, it’s uncomfortable. What makes you uncomfortable? Dare to try. Who makes you uncomfortable? Dare to reach out. Flex your courage muscle and practice being uncomfortable.

7. Dare to solve problems that really matter

Awe-inspiring. Jaw-dropping. Spine-tingling. Are these the words you use to describe your work? These are all phrases connected to work that requires disrupting the status quo. Perhaps it’s time to wake up and realize you are more capable of disruption than you think. 

The question is: Do you have something worth disrupting for? Something that inspires you to stretch, grow, stay up late and get up early? 

If you want to increase engagement and grow team chemistry host a team meeting or an offsite retreat and ask your team to discuss these questions individually and then together. 

Courageous disruptors are constantly asking: 

  • Do I have a direct line of sight from my job, the work I do, to a noble, heroic cause? 
  • My job matters because                      ? (Fill in the blank)
  • What isn’t right, what is worthy of disrupting at work?
  • What are 3 really dumb things we do around here?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What gets you out of bed in the morning?
  • How do we run the business better? 
  • How do we grow the business faster?
  • How can we stand out and differentiate the business more?” 
  • How can I own, personalize and elevate my contribution to add more value?

Answering these questions will give you energy and clarity on high leverage disruptions for standing out, adding value and engaging in work that matters.

The Good News

Disruptions, owning, personalizing, and elevating can come from anyone, anywhere, anytime. And ideally, they come from everyone, everywhere, every day.

The future will be yours when you breathe in courage, dare to disrupt the status quo, think outside your comfort zone, expand your network and engage in work that really matters.