3 ways women can boldly embrace disruption

by suzanne joy campbell |

Communication , Technology

Women in tech, communications and all matters digital understand that the pace of change is astonishing. They lead disruptive and disrupted organisations; explain disruption to their teams, customers, families and friends; and champion disruptive products, services and solutions.

‘Thriving on Disruption’ recently released by Accenture reports a survey of 561 Chief Strategy Officers across ten industries in eleven countries, which found that while 93% agree that new technologies will rapidly change their industry in the next five years, only 20% are well prepared for sudden industry disruption.

In this environment, it is more important than ever that women boldly embrace disruption, its opportunities and challenges with conviction, confidence and courage.


Our convictions are personal and powerful. They allow us to start with the end in mind. They are our north star.  Our convictions are our essential truth and by necessity, reflect our unique selves.

Clarity about our convictions allows us to be sure of our motivation and intention. They underpin our ambition and guide our behaviour as we seek to lead others. They encapsulate our aspirations, desires, wishes and hopes.

Clarity about our convictions, gives purpose, meaning and significance to our lives.  Some of you may see this as related to the divine.

In these disruptive times, clarity about our convictions is more important than ever.  So write down your purpose, carry it with you, take it out in times of stress, and review it as your life circumstances change.

In your dark times, when you are time poor, exhausted, cash-strapped or at risk of compromise take out your purpose and remind yourself why you live and do what you do.

It takes great independence to design your image instead of merely accepting the one that society recognises and rewards, however, it is easier once you take the time to write them down.


Our inner confidence is about trusting in our abilities, qualities, and judgement. With self-confidence, we become more positive, assertive, assured, authoritative, commanding, and self-reliant.

When we believe in our self, we are more self-possessed, composed, poised, and others respond to our positively to our presence.

While confidence cannot replace hard work, with confidence, hard work can get easier.

Confidence allows us to believe in ourselves, to be ambitious, to take risks, to say yes to opportunities, and to LEAN IN

With confidence, we can take the time to invest in peer networks, to step away from the day to day and to enjoy the company of others and not face disruption alone.


Courage is our ability to do something that frightens us, its bravery in the face of a family disaster or a corporate calamity.

Courage is the determination and spirit in the face of an ordeal, pain or grief. It is the resolve and strength of character with which we face the loss of our lover, our failed pregnancy, illness in our children, frailty in our parents, our failed marriage or business.  Life is not fair and courage takes practise.

History records Demosthenes who lived from 384–322 BC was born with a speech impediment and yet rose to be one of the most famous statesmen and orators of ancient Athens. According to one story, when he was asked to name the three most important elements in oratory, he replied “Practice, Practice, Practice!”

More recently the 10,000 Hour Rule was proposed by Malcolm Gladwell in the book Outliers. The principle holds that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field.

Subsequent research suggests the impact of the practice has a high level of domain dependency. Frans Johansson in The Click Moment says that deliberate practice is only a predictor of success in fields that have super stable structures. For example, in tennis, chess, and classical music, where the rules never change, so you can study up to become the best. But in less stable fields, like entrepreneurship and rock and roll, rules can go out the window. So mastery is more than a matter of practice.

Most recently Brooke Macnamara at Princeton University has said, “There is no doubt that deliberate practice is important, from both a statistical and a theoretical perspective. It is just less important than has been argued,” “For scientists, the important question now is, what else matters?”

While others work this out, have the courage to be your best you and practise courage whenever you can.

Tell your team about the restructure, your boss about the poor sales performance, your customer about the project or product failure. Speak up about gender inequality, sexism, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Aspire to more senior positions, ask for support from your partner, for performance feedback, equal pay, a new job, or a transfer. Hire more women, because it is good for you, your team, business and the economy. And nurture next-generation female leaders so they can one day take your job!

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Suzanne Joy Campbell

BA Sydney, MLib UNSW, GDipIB Sydney, GAICD

With more than 25 years of IT and telecommunications experience, I have been privileged to work in senior roles at Telstra, MCI Worldcom, Unwired and KAZ and to lead teams to establish, restructure, rebuild, transform and grow domestic and international companies to deliver significant results for our customers.