Disrupt or Be Disrupted

Donna Morris weighs in on how to be bold in your career.

It was March 19, 2012. I was in Bangalore, India, having just arrived after a 20-hour flight. One of the first meetings on my schedule: an interview with an eager reporter from the Economic Times of India. After a few general questions, the conversation turned to the ways in which human resources contributes to the business. Basically, she was wondering whether HR made any impact whatsoever.

In my agitated and sleep-deprived state, I shared a little more than I should have about how I wanted to disrupt how HR is done — starting with the performance review. I said the performance review was an antiquated, painful and unproductive HR process that had outlived its time.

This became a front-page news story in India: “Adobe Set to Scrap Performance Review,” which then spread around the world. The problem for me was that I had not invested the time to vet my point of view with my boss, the CEO, or with my peers. This could have turned into a career-limiting move.

I quickly communicated my desire to rethink reviews to the company, of course, and was met with overwhelming enthusiasm. The result was eliminating our annual performance review and moving to an ongoing “Check-in.”

This underscored a key turning point for me in my career. You need to exemplify courage as a leader and take risks. You need to disrupt – or you will be disrupted. It’s that simple. I would do that India interview all over again, because I am passionate about the change and the results are better for the business.

To be a disruptor in your own career, I have four pieces of advice:

So are you disrupting or are you being disrupted? We have a fun, magazine-style quiz here where you can score yourself.

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn.