May: Disruption – Innovative or annoying?

By: Julie Shipman, Career Coach

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Disruption: “To break apart or to interrupt the normal course or unity of”

As defined by Webster’s. It’s a word that marketing folks across the country seem to be having a field day with. It’s also true of companies looking to appear on point, innovative or trying to position themselves as market leaders, are using the word disruption everywhere. Their goal: to be seen as the oracle of the future. But is there any substance to this or is it simply annoying? And by annoying, I mean in the way that learning that Arby’s is really RB’s (roast beef) is annoying.

We are in a time of unprecedented marketing spend with projections showing consistent increases over the next 3 years. See the cool graphic at If you really want to delve deeper into the statistics on marketing spending, check out this cool site

Should all these marketing dollars equate to trust and believability? Maybe. Should catch phrases or evocative words equate to trust and believability. Maybe.

Mostly they just seem like noise; not good or bad, just noise. With all the noise created around you, how are people managers, getting messages across to their teams? If you’re doing it effectively, you are:

  • Keeping communication simple and straight forward;
  • Being honest and sharing information responsibly with zero tolerance for gossip;
  • Creating productive meetings where your team communicates and makes decisions effectively.

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, has a brilliant strategy for meetings. And you know how I feel about meetings. He keeps them simple, focused and limits the number of attendees. The best part; he starts each meeting with silence so that the attendees can read the memo i.e. agenda in the meeting. This enables them to have meaningful discussion and make decisions. The participants don’t have to put a spin on what they know (or don’t) because everyone has just read what the meeting is about. Brilliant. To learn more about his strategy:

I have long believed that that way you communicate with others is the way they will communicate with you.

Bottom line:

Be direct and fair in your communication. Do not assume that someone can or should “just know” what you think or expect. We all see the world through our own lens. Great managers facilitate communication and set the precedent for how their teams communicate as well.