Upheavals – Shaking up the Status Quo

Everything needs to evolve or it ceases to remain relevant. Upheavals are disruption in the normal or logical flow of development – and, we’re surrounded by upheavals.

As professionals who speak we understand that upheavals are not just a simple disruption of evolution – but a cry for focus and attention. It behooves each of us, in our roles as masters of influence to individuals and their organizations to help our clients get the most from the upheaval.

But first, I think it is necessary to state that there are 2 kinds of upheavals.  The first is an upheaval based on a need for focus and change.  The second type can be described as contrived upheavals – those that have a purpose of providing benefit to one or more stakeholders. In short, typically a power play.

A current and good example of a contrived upheaval is the NHL owner lock out of players. The players from the beginning stated clearly that they were willing to play while negotiating a new contract and would do so in good faith. The owners however, wanted to demonstrate that the power resides totally with them. While hockey lovers experience a disruption (no games) the underlying upheaval being played out before our eyes is a simple one.  It is about who’s in charge; who’s got the power. Contrived upheavals have a self-serving nature about them.

An example of a ‘normal’ upheaval (if upheavals can be called normal) is the upheaval we’re all experiencing and continue to experience, as it relates to social media. These past 30 years or more since technology went main stream, we’ve seen a constant stream of upheavals. Social media is a part of the electronic revolution, it qualifies as an upheaval because it challenges the status quo around electronic communication and it creates new principles for moving forward. Social media has moved ahead of personal email as the most popular online activity. The growth of Facebookä, twitterä, and Linkedinä is proof positive that more time is being spent on social media sites.

Sometimes upheavals can turn into movements. For example, the current upheaval in the distribution of wealth has spurred the Occupy Movement.

Inevitably upheavals are most certainly followed by change; upheavals cause shifts – shifts in physical structures, shifts in thoughts and attitudes, shift in behaviours and beliefs. As professionals who speak it is important for us to realize that upheavals are the earthquakes of philosophy and principle. This is because upheavals like earthquakes shake things up for a bit.  When the dust settles and things finally calm down, things are never quite the same again.  The foundation has moved.

None of us can predict exactly what the future holds – but we can be informed – and be a credible source of information and knowledge about the many upheavals that exist.  Whether those upheavals are technological, industry specific, or social in nature, it is safe to say that organizations will be dealing with the fall-out from today’s upheavals for years to come.  A very  a predictable notion.

Understanding the many upheavals that affect people and their businesses positions us as experts, moreover as “knowledgeable insiders”.  It is up to us to energize awareness and help our clients make better choices, embrace evolution and to awaken enthusiasm to progressive growth and continuous improvement. After all, progress is an outcome of shaking up the status quo.

Sid is the Chair of the Global Speakers Federation 2013 Global Speakers Summit titled: Revolutions. Upheavals. Choices. December 8-10, 2013 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada http://www.globalspeakers.net/summit

Sid can be reached at: sid@sidridgley.com

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