Personal disruption with Whitney Johnson - Housecall Pro

Personal disruption with Whitney Johnson

cover image for a video about how service businesses can use disruption to grow - featuring whitney johnson

June 2, 2020 update quick update

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 6,340,811 confirmed cases, 378,359 deaths and 2,712,792 recovered. 1,830,066 million US cases and 106,120 deaths with 463,868 recovered as of 3:33pm June 2 2020. 

About 7 in 10 Americans say they would get a coronavirus vaccine if immunizations were free and available to everyoneaccording to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the size of the U.S. economy will shrink by $7.9 trillion over the next decade because of fallout from the pandemic. The estimate comes as lawmakers in Washington are facing a decision on whether to extend emergency unemployment benefits for more than 25 million Americans. 

If they don’t, it could create a “fiscal cliff” that could end or even reverse an economic rebound, experts say. 

Congress does appear poised to approve changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, one of the core parts of the $2 trillion pandemic rescue package passed in March. The measure passed last Thursday in the House and still awaiting passage in the Senate would would:  

  • Reduce the share of aid money small business are required to spend on payroll from 75% to 60% (the PPP’s architects aimed to encourage companies to keep workers employed)
  • Extend the window businesses have to use the funds from two months to six months 
  • Push back a June 30 deadline to rehire workers 
  • Extend the time recipients have to repay the loan
  • Let companies that get loan forgiveness defer payroll taxes

The escalating protests across the United States could intensify a political standoff between the White House and Congress over whether to continue emergency economic assistance for millions of Americans.

Topic: Personal disruption with Whitney Johnson

Special Guest: Whitney Johnson

Whitney Johnson is the CEO of WLJ Advisors and one of the 50 leading business thinkers in the world as named by Thinkers50. She is an expert on helping high-growth organizations develop high-growth individuals. Whitney is an award-winning author, world-class keynote speaker, frequent lecturer for Harvard Business School’s Corporate Learning and an executive coach and advisor to CEOs. 

Whitney, can you please tell us the story of how you got to where you are today and how you came up with personal disruption? 

Studied music in college and after graduating moved to NYC where she was terrified. She had never stepped foot in a business environment before and her first job was a secretary on Wall Street. There she felt uncomfortable by the culture but eventually realized that she needed to follow the advice she heard other employees tell their clients on the phone. She had to put down her pompoms and disrupt herself. 

What is the definition of personal disruption? Why is personal disruption more important than ever right now?

6 months ago Whitney and her daughter went to Peru to see Machu Picchu. While there they went on a hike where she became terrified of falling because the path narrowed and she lowered herself closer to the ground to make it through. THe guide said it’s never a problem, you are always learning.

This phrase encapsulates personal disruption, because so many of us feel like we are clinging to the side of the mountain and we need to get to the point where we say it’s not a problem, we are always learning.

Personal disruption comes from disruptive innovation, the ideas that a silly little thing can take over the world. Think about the car replacing horse and buggy or Netflix replacing Blockbuster. Personally we are both Netflix and Blockbuster. The big aha moment was realizing that disruption isn’t just about products or services or countries, but it’s about people

Learn, Leap, Repeat- this is a continual cycle of disrupting yourself

Because of COVID-19 we don’t have an option, we don’t have the choice like we usually do to choose whether or not you will disrupt yourself. We now have the opportunity to reset in a way we may never have again.

What is the S curve of learning framework and how do we figure out where we are on it?

The S curve helps us understand how we learn and grow.

Every time we start something new, you are at the bottom of the S. Growth will feel slow but knowing this helps prevent discouragement. At this stage you and your employees need support, encouragement, and fast feedback.

As you put in effort you excel into competence where you are engaged and this is the sweet spot. Here you and employees need focus, delegation and appreciation.

Once at the top of the S curve, you aren’t learning as fast as you did, starting to be bored or underwhelmed- this is the dilemma of personal disruption. Do you jump or not? At this point you need a challenge.

As a business owner you aren’t going to jump to a different business, but you can get a coach, take on a new project, pivot your business or offer new services where you can leverage your existing skills. 

Bringing on employees brings them to the bottom of the S curve and you need to help them

If you are struggling with getting yourself to jump what are some suggestions for getting there?

We are more motivated by what we lose that by what we gain so rethink the situation. Rather than thinking about what you have to gain or the benefits of jumping, think instead about what will happen if you don’t.

If you don’t innovate and disrupt yourself you will get pushed aside by someone else or any other fear that will motivate you. 

What are the 7 accelerants of personal disruption?

  1. Take the right risks
    • There are 2 types of risk: competitive risk and market risk
    • How can you take on more market than competitive risk or in other words how can you focus on creating rather than competing?
    • Amateurs compete, professionals create
  2. Play to your distinctive strengths
    • We don’t know what our strengths are because they come to us so naturally that we are unaware
    • When thinking about your strengths, pay attention to the compliments that you get (personally and for your business) that you dismiss and look for patterns. Also, look for those things that frustrate you, because these might come naturally to you and could be a strength
  3. Embrace constraints
    • Think how can that constraint become a tool of creation? 
    • Constraints are necessary to create and move up the s-curve
  4. Battle entitlement
    • We see other people at people not objects, we don’t see them as worse than or better than
    • When we are willing to see everyone as a person we stop competing and start creating 
    • Have empathy for customers, employees, and others around you so that you can put yourself in their shoes or look through their eyes
  5. Step back to grow
    • You crouch before you jump and we have all been pushed back by COVID-19
    • We have an opportunity to reflect, consider, and wonder what we can do differently
    • What worked, what didn’t what can I do better tomorrow
  6. Give failure its due
    • Reframing failure is crucial because we will all fail all the time 
    • Detach shame from our failures so that we can see the return on our failure more quickly
    • As you grow your team, you need to be public about your failures so that you can scale
  7. Be discovery driven
    • Technical skills are important but the real indicator of success is the ability to take a step forward, gather feedback, and adapt.

Questions from the audience

I’ve lived my life constantly taking risks and have learned a lot. I have learned that not everything makes you stronger, sometimes it kicks you in the behind. Sometimes the best advice is to pace yourself. What about burn out?

  • Think about how to pace yourself
  • One crucial proven method for helping prevent burnout is to unplug one day a week
  • Use Boomerang to pause email and texts 
  • Think of how you can incorporate interval training into your life beyond exercise/fitness

Went from myself to 8 employees within the last month. He has to get rid of a commercial account. How do I shake what I perceive to be a failure and come back from it?

  • There will be a piece of you where failure feels like it’s a part of your identity. 
  • When something doesn’t work, allow yourself to be sad because that energy that was looking forward to it working out is what you need to propel you forward from the failure.
  • When something doesn’t work, try to pull it out and look at it on the table and detach it from the humans involved. What in this system didn’t work out. Its good for you and your employees because you aren’t blaming the people and takes the shame away by focusing on the system and identifying where your systems let you down.

What are your favorite books?

Where can you find Whitney?

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Last Posted July, 2024
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