"Disrupting" Your Career

Finding a Rewarding Career Path

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Don't be put off when the career path ahead looks rocky.

Halle has been an HR manager for four years. She's become unhappy in her role, however, because she rarely gets to do what she's best at. Her greatest strength is her creativity. She often comes up with ideas to improve the organization's processes, but her ideas rarely get heard, because they're not the main focus of her job.

She cares deeply about her organization, but she feels she'd be able to make more of a difference if she were in another role. The problem is that she doesn't know what that role is. You may empathize with Halle's situation. If you're in the right organization but the wrong role, you don't have the chance to use your strengths, and you can't provide as much value as you want to.

This is where "self-disruption" (an unhelpful term) is useful, because it helps you identify your strengths and take a new direction in your career. In this article, we'll explore self-disruption, and we'll discuss how you can apply it for yourself.

What Is Self-Disruption?

Self-disruption is based on the principles of disruptive innovation, an idea set out by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen. Disruptive innovation is the concept of spotting a niche technological idea, looking for unmet market needs, and turning the technology into a product that first meets these needs but then goes on to transform a whole industry.

Outlined by Whitney Johnson in the August 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review, self-disruption applies Christensen's concept on a personal level. With it, you identify your strengths, look for unmet needs within your organization, and change the direction of your career to meet those needs.

The ideal result is a win-win situation. You move into a role that matches your strengths more closely, and this allows you to provide more value to your organization.

Johnson set out four steps:...

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