Disruption, innovation, digital transformation.
These buzzwords fall flat when you describe something brand new and novel, mostly because we don't even know how to describe it.
We don't quite have the words, but we know it when we see it.
Case in point: Lamar Jackson, the phenom quarterback from the Baltimore Ravens.
This guy! I'm not sure how he does it, and I've been watching the Ravens every time they've been on national television. I watched the game last night versus the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football and I was awestruck. I've been a football fan my whole life and I've never seen anyone who is a quarterback and a running back at the same time.
Side note here: Michael Vick fans, I hear you. I was equally impressed with his talents. However, I never quite viewed him as an actual running back, more like a quarterback who could scramble and run over guys. Jackson is disruptive in that he seems to be able to play both positions and actually chooses to make cuts and find routes.
Disruption is one of those weird moments. It's like someone walks on stage with a new gizmo and everyone sort of acts perplexed. The Apple iPhone was like that for me. It was a game-changer in my career because it actually worked. It helped me stay connected and productive. I view Amazon Alexa the same way. It changes your viewpoint.
With Jackson, this is a major moment in sports history. You can argue that it might be short-lived, that he will "settle down" and start acting like a normal quarterback soon. He is only 22. And yet, I don't think so. This is a radical shift for the NFL, and I would not be surprised if new quarterbacks emerge who are also running backs. (You know, that's how they play the game in college so it is not really much of a stretch.)
We'll also see a shift in defense. How can you defend against a guy who can suddenly juke out of the pocket and turn into a running back? It's like the guy is wearing a cape. He can magically transform from quarterback to running back, to quarterback all in the space of five seconds. In those five seconds, your flat on your face. I've noticed how stunned defensive lineman just sit and ponder reality as he sprints away.
My challenge for the day is--can you model that?
Sometimes, in business, we tend to go stagnant. We accept the current customers we have, we choose to maintain the status quo. Something new like Snapchat emerges and disrupts how we communicate (and by "we" I mean teenagers) but then it gets old. To me, disruption is an overused word because what we really mean is safe innovation.
Jackson is anything but safe.
Will you follow his lead?