The rise of tech-savvy, innovative start-ups and a business environment that is changing so fast is part of the reason we’re hearing so much about disruption. Digital disruption has a key part to play in this phenomenon, but it’s not all about technology. Culture, leadership and the ability to innovate, or indeed disrupt your own organisation, are all weapons against the threat of disruption, or even tools to lead a successful disruption within your marketplace.

Nancy Altobello is Global Vice Chair of Talent at EY, overseeing the recruitment, development and retention of more than 230,000 EY employees in 152 countries. In a recent Q&A session Nancy discussed the need for purpose driven leaders in an era of disruption.

Taking Advantage of Disruption

The word disruption sounds bad, it sounds dangerous. However in a business context it’s like any potential threat, the challenge is to make it into an opportunity. Nancy describes the importance of defining how you can take advantage of disruption, how can it be exciting for your organisation, and your customers? By embracing potential changes and anticipating what’s around the corner it will allow you to use disruption as a positive force to achieve.

Purpose Driven Leaders

In order to see an organisation through a time of change or disruption, a leader must not simply tell you what to do or how to do it, but always take the time time to explain why. This is the essence of purpose driven leaders. It takes someone with the mindset to inspire a team, collaborate and include all involved to give a real purpose to what they do and why they do it.

Traits to Tackle Disruption

The ability to build trust with the whole team will allow leaders to do this most successfully. Teams are so diverse these days in terms of age, skills, backgrounds, etc. so inclusive leaders will shine the brightest. The ability to innovate by making the most of every individual’s diverse attributes will only make for a stronger team. Nancy also highlights the need for agility, stating that leaders who are curious and self-aware are able to fit into many different situations and inspire a team to innovate.

Read Nancy’s full interview and watch the Q&A session on the EY website here.

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