It would be nearly impossible to look back over the past year and not have the word – Disruption, come to mind. If 2018 was anything (and it most certainly was a lot of things!), it has arguably been the year in which the word “disruption” broke historical records for the amount of times and ways in which a word can be used!
Webster defines disruption as: Breaking apart… To rupture. To throw into disorder. To interrupt the normal course.
This definition seems to amplify the imagery and implications associated with disruption…associations that can conjure up a sense of fear and a degree of unsettledness. Yet, if you were to compare the characterizations of disruption with the variety of definitions associated with the word, Change, you would notice stark similarities.
Having spent the past 30+ years in the employee mobility industry, I find it very difficult, if not impossible, to recall a time when change, dare I say, disruption, was not occurring somewhere, somehow within our industry. The phrase – “Change is a Constant,” is far more than an overused cliché. It is truth. In his best-selling book, “Who Moved My Cheese,” first published in 1998, author Spencer Johnson writes: “Things change and they are never the same again. This looks like one of those times, Hem. That's life! Life moves on. And so should we.”
Call it interruption, disorder, breaking apart, adjusting, transforming, augmenting, modifying, shifting, creating, or, innovating… Life, and more specifically, our industry, is necessarily enveloped by all of those characteristics and more!
The debate over the good and the bad associated with change, has and will undoubtedly continue to occur on a regular basis. However, we know that change and disruption, for all of the fear and angst connected to those words, bring about opportunity. I personally believe that as a result of the relentless nature of change and disruption, the relocation industry at-large, has never been better prepared to meet the shifting demands and requirements from global organizations whom are transferring their talent in ways and in places that, just a decade ago, were not visible to anyone!
While we should continue to confidently embrace the notion of disruption, it is likewise imperative that we fight against the harmful tendencies that arise when we become too focused and engrossed in the concept. Indeed, it is likely true that the state of readiness of our industry has never been more finely tuned. However, in my humble opinion, ultimate success is and will always be found in our ability to create optimal relational experiences. The virtues of meaningful, fully engaged and sincere connections remain the cornerstones of our industry foundation. The advancements we have all helped to create and that have significantly strengthened service delivery capabilities around the world, would be rendered fruitless if not for the people and the essential relationships that are interwoven throughout. Compassion and consistency remain as vital to the success formula, as are any advancements in technology, any new product, or, newly created service. I would argue that, while our industry foundation has never been stronger, it would be catastrophically weakened if not for the people and the imbedded connections/relationships that keep it all together and allow for the conditions to exist, that ultimately bring about the types of disruption and transformation we have all witnessed this past year.
Global societies and even our own industry, can at times appear to be afflicted by an out-of-balance dependency on technology. So much so that actual, physical, person-to-person communication, as opposed to smartphone-to-smartphone “connecting,” can be an all too infrequent event! The harmful effects of this condition are often the source of ongoing studies and articles. Being “present,” is now a state of being that requires immense intentionality and purposeful conviction. I am left to wonder how relationships, be it interpersonal, or, business to business connections, can be enhanced and maximized when the people-connection is missing and we are not fully present and actively listening. How are the true needs of a person, or, an organization, surfaced and carefully examined when our ability to be present and actively listen have been marginalized?
My goal, both personally and professionally, for 2019 and beyond is to strengthen my capacity to be present. To incorporate greater intention aimed toward listening more and writing/speaking less. As disruption and change continue to push our industry in new and exciting ways, I know that while being at the forefront is essential, what is equally, if not more vital are the trust-based connections underpinning the transformational advancements we all passionately pursue.
And so, as we enter the holiday season and the dawn of a new year, work tends to take a backseat to time spent with family and friends. I can’t think of a more important time where being present and “All There” matters most!
On behalf of the entire Bristol family positioned all around the world, I wish you the happiest of holiday seasons, as well as a prosperous and “PRESENT” new year!
Please know how grateful I am for the relationship we share and the opportunity granted me to interact with each of you.