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Best selling author and US Navy SEAL, Thom Shea discusses what life is like when you stop quitting and become the best version of yourself.


Dec 2, 2019

Disruption and Innovation


Unbreakable Podcast is for people who want to rediscover their edge. I believe in the human ability to get off the X and regain the edge. It doesn’t matter how old, how many times you have won or lost, or how low you have become. I am committed to you getting your edge.


Whether you are a leader, or on a team, or starting a business, or stuck after a success point there are two distinct efforts that will get you off the X again—disruption and innovation. Disruption and Innovation in a business environment always move you off the X; always move the needle.


I want to share three stories about the twins of success so you can see the advantage.


The first I find to be the most extraordinary and most common story in business. The story of how a new boss, either through a new equity purchase of the company and the injection of a new leader, or, a new leader rises up as the old one leaves. Experienced leaders, you know the ones who have turned bad situations around before, always cause disruption or innovate which causes disruptions. Innovation and disruption are twins you cannot have one without having the other.


The disruptive leader has no preconceived ideas about what works and what doesn’t work. The disruptive leader interviews everyone with two questions in mind: what they do and what difference it makes to the organization. The initial period of interviews causes emotional disruption to the group. This is intentional but painful. The analysis of the people and their effect is needed but often brutal to witness and go through.


The second is the analysis of the costs and revenue. I have to admit this effort over the past five years with organizations is truly an eye opener. Bleeding costs, hourly expenses that don’t directly cause increased revenue, and lack of simple activity to drive revenue are the most rampant gaps in most organizations. The gap analysis causes disruption due to exposing the truth. And, no one likes the truth for some reason.


The third aspect is the correction. The correction disrupts the people and changes the costs and gets rid of people and things that don’t impact the organization. The third effort sets a new baseline. From this new baseline of people, activity, costs, and revenue comes Innovation.


With a clean slate the new leader and the new culture can innovate processes, methods, technology. The process is simple but not easy.


The second story is what happens in the SEAL teams on a weekly basis. In the teams, both the operational platoons and the training cadre ask three questions: Who is one point; what is working and not working; how far can we push the men and systems before they break. In the teams you intentionally cause disruption in order to cause innovation in techniques and technology. There is no other way to create and sustain high levels of performance. Intentional disruption and innovation is the culture of growth.

When you look at people with the test of who is on or off, you only get one non-emotional answer. Performance is just what it is. You either can or you cannot demonstrate it. If you cannot you are not on point. If you can perform you stay if you cannot you go.


When you ask what is working and what is not working, again, you have a non-emotional answer. This techniques works in this situation and not in others; or that technology works in this or that environment and not in those others. Point of fact, clear and simple!


The disruption of pushing to limits is the way of life in the SEAL teams and very rare in business. I have yet to find the answer to why the disruptive life is not embraced in the business culture, when the clear outcome in the teams is so evident. At no point in time is there a training scenario that is winnable. No matter what happens things will fall apart or be pushed to breaking.


Why? Because, training within limits makes you lie to yourself and to your team. Pushing to exhaustion is a truth. Using a tactic until in proves it doesn’t work is a truth. Shooting on a static range and being proud of your shot group never holds up in the reality of war. The culture of the SEAL teams pushes to limits to expose what to work on and change.


The third story is mid life crisis of a leader. I find this story to be the most amazing to me, in a good way. For the sake of brevity I will define mid life crisis as someone between 35 and 50 years old who has done exceptionally well in business and life. The man or woman feels stale, feels like they are stuck in a rut, or just lack enthusiasm. They have actually won, or arrived at the tons of money, their kids are gone, and their business functions whether they are there or not.  


There is no next horizon, no hill to concur, and, no crisis to solve. The tragedy of going after the famed bucket list seems great until you travel and see that castle and drink that wine and shop in Paris only to find that too to be lack luster and brief. Most people get stuck on the X here and lose the urge of building; and extinguish the fire and passion of relationships; and worse they just eat and get fat.


What we do in my training is completely disrupt the entire system. We get back to the true value of life process by teaching a method and formula to always grow in five areas of life. We get health back as a foundation. We disrupt wealth so that abundance becomes the theme. We get excited again to learn. We innovate how relationships are set up and maintained. And, we unique ways to connect spiritually.


Break the mold, start over, get excited and lead a measurable life. Age is not a factor. I have trained non-runners over 55 to run ultra marathons. Having a million dollars in the bank is not a factor. I have trained both people with money and those without to use the process to start, grow and sell a business in two years. Pre-existing passion and looking sexy is not a factor. I have trained both men and women to disrupt the marriage in order to relate intimately to each other.


In closing I would like to share the periodicity of disruption and innovation with you so that you look at the five areas of life and apply the twins of success.


Physical or health disruption needs to occur every month. Innovation in your physical life needs to occur every week.


Wealth disruption needs to occur every six months. Innovation needs to occur every three months.


Relationship disruption and innovation, both, need to occur every three months.


Intellectual disruption and innovation need to occur daily.


Spiritual disruption and innovation need to occur every year.


If you are interested in disruption and innovation reach out to us at