Separating Disturbance from Problem
This week’s blog comes from Matthew Baughan, the Nason Group’s creative catalyst.
Good or bad? Or both?
Remember the bratty kid who disrupted the classroom? Not good. Not for the teacher, the other students, or the disruptor. After all, that’s the definition of disruption: A disturbance or problem that interrupts an event, activity, or process.
My dad often imparted great advice, among which was what to do when presented with this type of problem.
Take a breath, step back, and look at it a different way.
Back to our problem child. The kid was being a smartass, right? Seeking attention and getting away with what they knew they could. All while fully knowing that it was not acceptable and subject to discipline.
Might it be that same child, regardless of their history, had noticed a suspicious smoke outside the window next to their desk that no one else had a vantage point to see? Or that the classmate seated beside them was having trouble breathing?
My point is that, when you witness disruption, allow yourself to separate disturbance from problem. Though the definition above mentions both, there’s a significant difference. Don’t judge until you take a moment to open your mind and create what I call positive disruption. Nothing wrong with a heartfelt, good-intentioned “Excuse me” or “Now hold on a sec” — even if it does quiet the room.
Positive disruption indicates that the disruptor is neither a follower nor a leader, a friend nor a stranger. It matters not. But it does demonstrate the presence of an internal true-north instinct that refuses to follow the status quo simply because it is the status quo. Positive disruptors are the brave ones, the inquisitive ones. They’re the ones you want around when some serious shit is going down.
The awesome thing is, this power resides in all of us.
So the next time someone is taking too long at the airport counter in front of you, consider that they might just be, on our behalf, pushing back against a policy that makes zero sense. Or, when someone cuts you off in the pharmacy parking lot, seek first to understand. They might just be rushing to pick up an urgent prescription for their kid or swerving to miss a shopper who has their head buried in their smartphone.
Of course, if you do in fact discover that they did just flat cut you off and steal your spot, then feel 100% free to roll down your window and say: “Excuse me” or “Now hold on a sec.”