What Is Positive Turbulence?

Positive turbulence is a proactive process for bringing new information into an organization, making sense of it, and translating it into novel ideas that are both useful and actionable.

Definition: Positive Turbulence is an energizing climate that draws organizations towards a directed change. It provides stimuli to motivated people looking for ways to make their own contributions towards the success of the enterprise.

Positive Turbulence describes a climate that values and seeks novelty. It mixes novelty with the known and the familiar resulting in an energizing tone compatible with change by providing stimuli to motivated people who are looking for ways to make their own contributions to the renewal and success of the organization.

Leaders who foster creativity in organizations create a culture that values and seeks novelty from the outside. These outside sources include a changing economy, new technology, here-to-fore unknown competition, shifting demographics, social trends, and more. A manager and an organization that keeps on the lookout for these changing forces while simultaneously managing them for innovation can create novel and useful ideas and processes that solve the often-complex problems associated with change. Creative leaders create the meaning, set the tone for this culture and also a climate compatible with change. This reality has always been present but now that we operate in a global context and a wired world, the changes come faster and from more exotic sources than ever before in history.

Positive Turbulence begins with the recognition that change is inevitable. It then provides ways to keep change manageable and apply it to an organization’s strategic advantage. Asserting that creativity need not be random, positive turbulence is a proactive process for bringing new information into an organization, making sense of it, and translating it into novel ideas that are both useful and actionable. With a variety of examples from history, organizations large and small, and even jazz groups, he provides real-world examples of how Positive Turbulence at your company will help ensure its vitality in a hyper-competitive, rapidly changing world.

Smart leaders Manage change …

…Before change  Manages Them.

10 ways to generate positive turbulence

Learn more about positive turbulence:

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Positive Turbulence: Developing Climates for Creativity, Innovation, and Renewal 
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1. Pay Attention to the Periphery 

Look beyond your day-to-day. Pay attention to trends, events, and innovations.

2. Encourage Nonlinear Thinking

Nonlinear thinking is when someone seems to make  “quantum leaps” or connect seemingly random dots.

3. New Patterns of Communication

Running into too much resistance? Try changing how you are communicating.

4. Embrace Change and Diversity

Diversity is not just different skin tones, genders, and sexual identities, it’s different experiences, modes of expression, and ways of thinking. Seek cognitive diversity

5. Open Flow for the Arts and Technology 

Open yourself, and your organization to fresh ideas and creative energy from the arts and technology

6. Bring Positive Turbulence to Teams

Give up the old command and control model and instead foster positive turbulence on your team(s).

7. Keep the Turbulence Positive

Don’t blame others when things go sideways, look for the positive and reframe the challenge.

8. Manage the Intensity of Turbulence

Don’t try to boil the ocean. Allow your team time to adjust.

9. Ensure Periods of Renewal

Turbulence, even if it’s positive can be intense. Everyone needs downtime, time to reflect and time to process.

10. Be Intentional About Positive Turbulence as Strategy

Setting an intention to generate positive turbulence as a core strategy will transform your organization.