Rupt: to break. Interrupt. Disrupt. Abrupt. Erupt.

Global disruption is a once in a lifetime phenomenon…if we’re lucky. The sudden slowdown and stop of everyday life creates a sense of loss and isolation both personally and communally. Against this backdrop, organizations struggle to continue to engage stakeholders who are preoccupied with the disruption of their own lives.

For organizations doing well, this can be especially challenging. It’s hard to shift priorities when you’re enjoying success. Established calendars, revenue streams and partnerships suddenly have to be renegotiated, and it’s counterintuitive. No one likes having their hand forced

For organizations already struggling – for whatever reason – this disruption can shut things down for good. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Entrepreneurial leaders see the opportunity to rethink and relaunch business. The choice isn’t to save the ship or go down with it; it’s to find a new way to continue the journey.

Give yourself permission to take risks. The old rules don’t apply and the new rules are yet to be written. So based on your experience, what do you want to do differently? Now is your chance. Since there’s no going back, what’s your new way forward?

  • What new stakeholder needs do you see on the landscape?
  • Do they point to an underserved audience?
  • Can you craft a value proposition to address the need?
  • What business model best aligns with this new value proposition?
  • Will this model make your organization more receptive and responsive to input?
  • How can you connect and convene stakeholders as a value-added benefit?
  • Are there ways to customize delivery of services unique to each stakeholder?
  • Can you tailor communications to optimize response rates and brand loyalty?
  • Is this new model built for digital success?
  • What does online engagement look like the next year? The next five years?
  • How do you immediately begin to make the shift to your new model?

All disruptions come to an end. Use this time to find answers and position your organization for success.

Walter McKenzie is Senior Director for Constituent Services at ASCD, leading its affiliate, connected community, professional interest community, student chapter and emerging leader programs.

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