One of the most graceful and difficult maneuvers to execute in formation is a Pivot, or what used to be called an Oblique. When I left the military I think they were calling it a half right or half left turn. But there is a move where the whole company turns half to the right or half to the left and keeps marching in the same direction. It is quite elegant to watch when it is well coordinated.
If you are in to that sort of thing, here is a video of an Airforce ROTC unit performing it.
Add some other fancy moves and you've got a real show, at least if they are well executed in unison. If they are done poorly it shows in a hurry. Some goofus goes in the wrong direction and the whole company looks stupid.
Executing an oblique or a pivot of some kind or a sweep takes practice and preparation. Whole industries and sectors of society are now in pivot mode. They are companies or organizations living in Disruption. For most of us, going from Records to 8 track tapes to cassette tapes to ipod and music files has been the first and most obvious disruption.
Steve Jobs is often credited with or blamed for this disruption. His determined resistance to allowing the delivery of music on an album full of songs that were of little interest just so you could get one song that was a hit, is what was at stake. Now, you buy the song you want and skip the rest. Major shakeup or disruption. Lots of upset people too, especially in the music business.
What is interesting to me is the mentality of the leader who is preparing for disruption. That is why Jobs is both revered and hated by so many. He either planned for or fell into the Disruptive Continuum like few others have done. And he used Apple to make the oblique and they have executed it pretty well.
You will or are already subject to Disruptions. Music, Cable TV, Health Care, Education, Travel, Leisure, and dozens of other sectors of life and industry are all going through the Disruptive Continuum.
What is important is how do you respond. Are you prepared to make the pivot, to turn in a new direction, to go off on an oblique? How does one go about preparing for the Disruptions in their environment? Unfortunately for too many it comes in the form of a pink slip or a move or some kind of slam to their life. One day you're making widgets and they are flying out the door and off the shelves, then shortly after the highest sales month, the widget inventory backs up into the warehouse, finally into your living room. You can't give them away fast enough. They don't want what you have been producing anymore. And you go out of business.
Some non-profits and especially churches go out of business long before they realize that they are out of business. They keep talking on their cell phones when the person on the other end of the line has been long gone due to poor reception. They are talking to themselves and anybody standing nearby, but their customers and friends have long ago left the conversation.
You can see it everywhere today, at least if you are not in denial. That is the key, isn't it, denial or awareness. Which will it be? Those who choose to face it, will learn to pivot, to make the more difficult moves in order to go in a new direction.
The writing industry is going through this Disruption. Great stories are being written as I type this. And sad stories are fading away as well.
Now that I've left the leadership of churches, I see how desperately we need to prepare for the Pivot. In fact, we are well past the time of preparation, we are in the late stages of having to execute. And we are not doing well.
My suggestion is that you practice pivoting now. Don't wait. Go out and figure out what it means to make a turn in a completely new direction and to do it with grace. There is a very good chance you are going to need that knowledge and practice in the near future.