Pardon the Interruption

On the journey towards creating sustainable change it is important to evaluate the way you approach change. 

If you’re anything like me, being interrupted rarely yields warm fuzzy feelings. You set out to do or say something, ready to make change happen! Then in the middle of your well-constructed statement and your perfectly-prepared plan…

“Excuse me, have you thought about…???” 

“Wait, stop. I think you should…” 

“No, no, no. What I would do is…”

Your blood pressure may be rising just thinking about it! 

Yes, at times – maybe even most of the time – this can be wildly frustrating. All you want to do is dismiss the intruder and keep it moving! However, interruptions are often opportunities. 

I’m serious!

In what ways could an interruption be worthwhile? I thought you might ask! First, let me implore you to maintain an open mind in the midst of the frustration. There are benefits that can be gained, even in what is often an unwelcomed exchange.

Here are three opportunities we consider whether with Self Directed Volunteer Teams or while working with clients to develop sustainable strategies:

The opportunity to strengthen perspective. There are times when, on the strength of an interruption, you realize the necessity of clarifying key details for a misled party. You learn that you are in two separate worlds on an issue. Allowing the interruption to play out helps you to bring the “wandering sheep” back into the fold. (And…quite frankly, that wandering sheep might just be you or, in fact, your whole team!) 

The opportunity to refine your approach. In all honesty, we’ve all had moments when we were so glad that we didn’t interrupt the interruption! It turned out that our well-crafted statement was off-script and our perfectly-prepared plan had missed important input from others. It can pay off nicely to take a deep breath, listen, process, and then (maybe after another deep breath) objectively respond. That interruption may have just handed you a second chance on a silver platter!

The opportunity to re-evaluate norms. “We’ve always done it that way” can quickly and subtly become the undertone to an organization that refuses to be interrupted. Consider the alternative solution presented, not as a means of derailing the machine but as a possible investment in re-oiling the machine. Norms can and should be interrupted and re-evaluated from time to time.

I’d challenge you further! Seek out an interruption once in a while. Put your ideas out there to be torn apart and reconstructed. Allow an “outsider” in to see your world from a brand new perspective. 

Turn the dread of interruptions into an adventure of possibility!   

By: Kylah Martin, Operations Manager –

SDV Network has researched and developed a structured framework for engaging and implementing Self Directed Volunteer Teams (SDV Teams). Let us help you get your teams going!

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