American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

astra academy

Turning Challenge into Opportunity with Peter Sheahan

Peter Sheahan is internationally known for his innovative business thinking and thought leadership. The keynote he presented at ASTRA's 2018 Marketplace & Academy was provocative, insightful, and packed full of real world examples that can shift the way you see your role and help you to find opportunities in change and disruption. 

This package will share 12 actionable vignettes to help you navigate disruptive forces and turn it into competitive advantage. Register for this education package so that you are alerted when the monthly vignette is available. Peter will share the following content:

  1. Moving from Awareness to Ownership
  2. Moving from Agreement to Alignment
  3. Creating a Leadership Aspiration
  4. Creating Capacity through Deselection
  5. Defining vs. Enabling
  6. Intentionally Intervene
  7. Leverage vs. Control
  8. Burning Platform vs. Burning Desire
  9. The Opportunity is in the Disruption
  10. Move Towards the Edge of Disruption
  11. Lead the Customer into the Future
  12. Optimism
  • (12) Optimism

    In this video, Peter Sheahan invites you to apply a more optimistic lens to the changes you are facing, because what you believe is possible is likely to manifest itself in reality.

    As leaders, we should always be scanning the horizon for competitive threats. Yet, when we do find potential disruptions, leaders commonly see it as something happening to us and try to prevent it, rather than seeing change and disruption as an opportunity.

    When leaders have a prevention mindset, they ask pessimistic questions like, “How can we stop it?” or “Why is this happening to us?” On the other hand, leaders with a promotion mindset ask more open-ended, growth-oriented questions such as, “How can we use this to differentiate?” or “Can this give us an advantage over a competitor?”

    In this video, Peter Sheahan invites you to apply a more optimistic lens to the changes you are facing, because what you believe is possible is likely to manifest itself in reality.

  • (11) Lead the Customer into the Future

    In this video, Peter Sheahan, using examples of a large software company and a regional shipping company, will challenge you to lead your customer into the future and not be dragged there, so you can continue to remain the obvious choice.

    As the rate of change outside of our organizations continues to accelerate, we will no longer be able to take a “wait and see” approach to the changes on the horizon. Despite the constant need to transform, many companies have intentionally tried to slow their customers’ progress to the future until they had no other choice.

    If we want to remain relevant in the hearts and minds of our most important clients and partners, we must be ready to take action before we have all of the information. In this video, Peter Sheahan, using examples of a large software company and a regional shipping company, will challenge you to lead your customer into the future and not be dragged there, so you can continue to remain the obvious choice.

  • (10) Move Towards the Edge of Disruption

    In this video, Peter Sheahan invites you to move towards the edge of disruption and learn there, because we will not be able to apply today’s models and metrics to the business of the future.

    To find the opportunity in disruption, we must move towards the very things disrupting us, even though our initial reaction is to move away from them. When we do want to try something new, however, we often grow tired of round after round of whiteboarding, forecasting, and planning without ever getting to something we are testing in the field.

    To break this pattern, we need to develop a learning mindset through the testing and piloting of new concepts, so we can create clarity about what will and won't work in the future. In this video, Peter Sheahan invites you to move towards the edge of disruption and learn there, because we will not be able to apply today’s models and metrics to the business of the future.  

  • (9) The Opportunity is in the Disruption

    In this video, Peter Sheahan will explain how Burberry was able to transform their organization by embracing the very things that were disrupting their business as an example to help you understand how to find opportunity in change.

    When we think about disruption, we typically feel like it is something that we have to “deal with” or “take care of.” Despite the fact that we are usually unable to control or stop what is disrupting us, we see it as a threat that we should avoid and eliminate wherever possible.

    The truth is the opportunity is in the disruption itself, and we as leaders must take ownership for finding and exploiting it. In this video, Peter Sheahan will explain how Burberry was able to transform their organization by embracing the very things that were disrupting their business as an example to help you understand how to find opportunity in change.

  • (8) Burning Platform vs. Burning Desire

    In this video, Peter Sheahan will challenge you to start your journey of transformation when times are good instead of waiting until you have no other choice.

    We all love the story of the hero who saves the day at the last moment when their back is up against the wall, and they have no other choice but to act. While it makes for a great story, this burning platform, where margins are tighter, the risks we need to take are greater, and the price of failure is higher, should not be the catalyst for us to transform our organization in the face of disruption.

    Instead, professionals should operate from a place of a burning desire for what is possible for your organization and for yourself in the face of change and disruption. In this video, Peter Sheahan will challenge you to start your journey of transformation when times are good instead of waiting until you have no other choice.

  • (7) Leverage vs. Control

    In this video, Peter Sheahan will explain why you must create leverage and do only the things only you can do so you can focus on the things that matter most.

    Across industries and organizations, one of the biggest challenges we see to innovation and transformation efforts is a lack of capacity. People are so consumed by their day to day work that it is difficult to find time to focus on longer term, more strategic efforts. What we also see is that leaders’ natural instinct is to control each decision and review every item despite their teams wanting more responsibility.

    To increase our capacity and execute on our transformation efforts, we need to build a culture of trust and delegation. In this video, Peter Sheahan will explain why you must create leverage and do only the things only you can do so you can focus on the things that matter most.

  • (6) Intentionally Intervene

    In this video, Peter Sheahan will discuss why we must actively and intentionally intervene to avoid stagnation and continue to move towards the edge of disruption.

    By nature, people are usually resistant to change despite many people saying they are open to it in their personal and professional lives. Similarly, organizations are designed to do the same thing over and over again, reducing variability and eliminating risk as much as possible.   

    Yet, this same structure that allows us to scale and optimize can also stymie our ability to innovate and convert opportunity into action. As a leader, we must actively and intentionally intervene to avoid stagnation and continue to move towards the edge of disruption. As a leader, we must actively and intentionally intervene to avoid stagnation and continue to move towards the edge of disruption. 

  • (5) Defining vs. Enabling

    In this video, Peter Sheahan will discuss why you should flip the amount of time you spend on WHAT you do vs. HOW you will do it.

    Every company has its strategic planning process which typically includes a well-defined framework that helps companies decide WHAT they are going to do over the next 1-2 years and WHAT goals they plan to accomplish.

    While the exercise and the output can be an important guidepost for your organization, there is typically far less time dedicated to understanding HOW we are going to get our teams and the rest of the organization to align behind our plan. In this video, Peter will discuss why you should flip the amount of time you spend on WHAT you do vs. HOW you will do it.

  • (4) Creating Capacity through Deselection

    In this video, Peter Sheahan explains why we need to build the muscle to deselect and delegate, so we can focus on the highest value activities.

    One of the main reasons many transformation efforts fail is a lack of capacity to focus on them. In terms of time and mental energy, professionals and leaders are already doing as much as they possibly can today that they don’t have time to look towards the future. To build that capacity, leaders must be willing to say "no."

    In this video, Peter Sheahan explains why we need to build the muscle to deselect and delegate, so we can focus on the highest value activities. 

  • (3) Creating a Leadership Aspiration

    In this video, Peter Sheahan explains why it is important that leaders develop a leadership aspiration that provides a clear understanding of how their organization will be different over the next 2-5 years because of the current leadership team.

    When leaders are trying to create new behaviors in their teams and in their organizations, they typically default to one of two things. Many will try to define and redefine things like Vision, Mission, and Values that create an emotional connection between the individual and the organization. The problem is these statements are too abstract to drive real alignment and behavior change as it is difficult to find anything that does not ladder up to them.

    On the other hand, leaders focus on laying out detailed strategies about what they are going to do next. These are usually too short-term and predictable to truly change the way your team operates.

    In this video, Peter Sheahan explains why it is important that leaders develop a leadership aspiration that provides a clear understanding of how their organization will be different over the next 2-5 years because of the current leadership team.