As you read this, someone is considering – and probably working on – how to disrupt your industry. You won’t see them coming, and your first thought when they appear will be to focus on the technology.
That’s a mistake.
The disruptor’s best weapon isn’t the technology. Their tools and coding languages are available to everyone. It isn’t usually their in depth industry knowledge, either. You are more likely to have existing customers and marketplace understanding that gives you the advantage.
Disruptors succeed because they aren’t locked into seeing the world the way that it always has been seen. The phrase “we’ve never done it that way before” maybe in their vocabulary, but it is used as a challenge to try something new rather than an excuse to protect the status quo.
The good news is that you can render the disruptor’s best weapon useless. It’s not easy, but it is possible. Here are three ideas on which you can begin working today.
- Disrupt your mindset as the leader. All leadership is change leadership in a world where success is a moving target. Your customers have grown accustomed to new solutions that are faster, better, cheaper, and/or friendlier than what they are experiencing today. Your team won’t continually seek improvements and innovation unless you create the environment where doing so is valued and rewarded. A good place to start is identifying the barriers that prevent you and your team from being on the leading edge of change. Prioritize the list and work through at least one every thirty days. Your team – at least most of them – wants to contribute to and be a part of a vibrant company that delivers amazing results. Your job is to make that possible.
- Disrupt your supervisors and managers. The middle of your organization is where change goes to die. It is easy to understand why your supervisors and managers protect the status quo. They arrived at their position by knowing how to thrive in a world that you want to change. Supervisors and managers also feel the pressure to deliver results today while making changes that won’t come to fruition until later. New skills and rewards for promoting change are good places to begin. The ultimate disruption you will need, however, is providing supervisors and managers with the trust that the risks of change (and the mistakes that come with them) will be accepted rather than costing them their jobs.
- Disrupt your culture. Your competitive advantage is in creating an environment that is so compelling that smart, committed, innovative people volunteer their best effort every day. The sad reality is that building and sustaining that type of organization isn’t that complex. It is difficult, but it isn’t that complex. Too many organizations focus on salary, benefits, and programs designed to build satisfaction. There’s nothing wrong with those things, and you have to be competitive in those areas. Your culture, however, is so much more. It is the habits that define what you truly believe about people, performance, and professionalism. In addition, the best cultures are based on what works best for your team not your leaders.
Your business doesn’t have to be disrupted. You have the choice and ability to make faster, better, cheaper, and friendlier a way of life. Technology is only the tool. Your best weapon is the mindset and performance of your culture, your supervisors and managers, and yourself as the leader.
Randy Pennington is an award-winning author, speaker, and leading authority on helping organizations achieve positive results in a world of accelerating change. To bring Randy to your organization or event, visit www.penningtongroup.com , email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 972.980.9857.