What is Disruption and how do you manage it

“VUCA” – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity

You may be tired of the concepts the VUCA!

A VUCA Alternative: RUPT

RUPT stands for Rapid, Unpredictable,Paradoxical,and Tangled


  • Rapid:The changes you experience come at us fast and furiously. They overlap with each other like waves emerging from different sources crashing in mid-ocean.


  • Unpredictable:You can analyze, strategize, and predict the future, but then something totally unexpected emerges (rapidly), challenging your assumptions and causing you to reframe your thinking.


  • Paradoxical:As a leader, you are so easily lured into believing complex challenges are problems with one right solution, rather than seeing them as polarities that must be leveraged.

Leadership is replete with polarities that must be leveraged if you and your teams and organization are to be effective in both the short and long term.

For example, you must innovate for the long term, yet you have current businesses that must be managed both in the short and long term. You might be tempted to choose one or the other, but even for the short term, you really need to do both.

If you can see these dilemmas as polarities and respond accordingly, you can have your cake and eat it too.


  • Tangled:Everything is connected to everything else. You can refer to a principle from chaos theory and the notion that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world is the trigger for a storm far away in another part of the world. Youe hear terms that imply the connectedness of everything — the global village; the world is flat.

You live in multiple ecosystems, all of them having connections within and with each other that you might overlook in your attempts to strategize and implement strategy effectively.


Rumpere, in Latin, means “to break, to burst.” With the prefix ab-, or “off,” the Latin formsabrumpere, “to break off.” And abruptus gives the English word abrupt.

In Modern English, this meaning has been applied figuratively to the manner of a person who speaks or acts suddenly and curtly, or to things that change suddenly; such as “breaking off” unexpectedly.

Rupture is an English word that still retains the literal meaning of “bursting,” as do disrupt and interrupt, all are derived from the same rumpere.


Dis-rupt-tion happens when RUPT is in play and leadership fumbles.                         

For example:

  • when an organization is not agile, or it over-relies on prediction, to the detriment of adapting;
  • when the paradoxical tension between rapid adapting and stable predicting (to name just one of many paradoxical tensions) freezes leadership; or
  • when rapid, unpredictable, paradoxes are embedded in “tangled” causes and effect chaotic systems, triggering reactions that are more subjective rather than linear or logical.


Suresh Shah, Pathfinders Enterprise


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