Whitney Johnson is one of the leading business thinkers in the world and an expert on disruptive innovation. An award-winning author of Disrupt Yourself, and Build an “A” Team, Whitney is also a world-class keynote speaker, frequent lecturer for Harvard Business School’s Executive Education, and an executive coach and advisor to CEOs. In her third podcast with Leading Saints, she talks about learning from Clayton Christensen, how we are all feeling disruption now, and how we can turn that to innovation. Whitney is currently serving in a stake Relief Society.


Whitney discusses how she has been re-inventing her business model as she cannot travel to do keynote presentations but has to find out how to focus on individuals rather than businesses. She provides background into the relationship with Clayton Christensen, who recently passed. He was an expert in disruption theory – about how little things can take over the world (i.e. telephone, Netflix, etc.) Her work with him started in the church public affairs, and developed into business collaboration. She loved how he was the same at work and at church.

12:56 – What would Clayton Christensen want to talk about if he were being interviewed? He would discuss disruptive innovation in a gospel setting. He felt that the only metrics that matter are how we influence other people.

15:17 – At his funeral, it was reported that Brother Christensen’s initial teaching reviews as a professor were not great; in order to improve, he prayed before EVERY class and he was better able to serve his students. His goal was to do good, no matter the assignment.

16:50 – Whitney speaks of disruption in regards to current leadership/callings. In her stake Relief Society position, since they can’t do local trainings with leaders, they would focus on Zoom meetings with specific questions that would help direct the discussion and promote sharing.

23:52 – What is the S-curve in a calling? We start at the bottom, and as we get going we climb the first curve, improve our abilities as we reach the second curve to reach the top where we are doing so well, and then we get released. The pandemic is causing a brand new S-curve in every position.

26:00 – Examples of how our constraint will become a tool of innovation (missionary work, teaching, videos etc).

Taking the right risks, creating vs. competing, play where “no one else is playing”; What can I re-create, rather than “what was it supposed to be?” A favorite quote: “Amateurs compete, professionals create.”

31:33 How can this disruption help me find my way forward? Disruptive innovation is about stepping back so we can slingshot forward. As we are forced “back”, we need to reflect, “How will I define my Covid time?”

-Write in a journal

-Keep the Sabbath day holy. Use Sunday as a “step back” so that Monday you can “slingshot forward”

35:45 How do I “step back”? Whitney describes her process of putting all work email on pause Saturday night at 9pm until Monday at noon. She wants to make Sunday a “delight” by writing in her journal, reading, praying, and doing family history

38:20 Journal writing tips: at the end of the day write down the best of the day and the worst of the day – and then explain to what extent you were “creating or competing” and how to do better tomorrow. Every 50 days you should look back and reflect on all the lessons.

40:54 – Whitney likes to record all priesthood blessings and transcribe them so that they can become part of her “canon of scripture”

43:12 – Discussion about current race issues, and the question of “how will I be changed” We can contribute if we are humble. She expresses gratitude for the Atonement – we can’t repair the hurt of the past but all can be wiped away because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.


Clayton Christensen’s books
Dare Dream Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare To Dream
Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work
Build An “A” Team: Play To Their Strengths and Lead Them Up The Learning Curve
Whitney Johnson’s Disrupt Yourself Podcast
Build an A-Team in Your Calling | An Interview with Whitney Johnson
Disrupting Your Calling | An Interview With Whitney Johnson

How do we help leaders

Pin It on Pinterest