Disrupt yourself or be disrupted

If you aren’t disrupting yourself, somebody else will.

I was in Dallas last year and used Uber to catch a ride to the airport. The driver was an attorney who was working on researching Uber for the taxi companies in Dallas. He was exhibiting the typical incumbent industry approach – protect and defend. Put up more regulatory roadblocks to slow down or stop the competitor.

Yet, this is not a very effective strategy anymore, the rapid pace of change fueled by technology and innovation often hits like a rogue wave washing over the industry and your company. Take Airbnb for example, in a little over four years they are renting 600,000 room nights. It took Hilton Hotels over ninety years to acquire the same amount of rooms they did in just over four! Then there is iTunes, Netflix, Instagram, and the list goes on and on. No industry or profession is exempt.

So what can you do about it?

 Most companies (and individuals) often get so caught up in everyday operations that they don’t take a step back to think about what the future might hold. – Rita McGrath

Here are six ways to avoid being disrupted.

  1. Start with becoming a future scout, scanning the horizon for trends and developments that might disrupt you. Make sure you look outside your industry as most disruptions will come from the outside.
  2. Disrupt yourself and lead your own change. Change is always easier when it comes from the inside-out, rather than from the outside-in.
  3. Discover and focus on what should not change – your core purpose and values are things that should not change and can serve as a powerful foundation for innovation and progress.
  4. Create or co-create your future vision based on hindsight, foresight, and insight, considering the latest trends and issues surrounding your industry and customers.
  5.  Reconfigure your business and reallocate resources to allow for innovation and experimentation.
  6. Create a culture of collaboration and continuous learning.

The only way to predict the future is to co-create it with your team. Here is an example of a firm we worked with that has co-created its future (DeLeon & Stang).

We have worked with major firms, corporations and non-profits to co-create their futures with our i2a: Insights to Action strategic planning process. Contact us if you want to se how we can work with you to create your vision, strategy and action plan for the future.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn once said, “You can’t stop the waves but you can learn how to surf.”




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