In connection with my book, ”Disrupt or Die”, I get many inquiries from organizations who want inspiration and advice on how to deal with disruption. Today, disruption is on top of the to-do-list in many companies’ strategy planning, and therefore it is often the top management that contacts me. It is distinctive that the management is reluctant to deal with disruption because it smells a little of IT. Actually, they want to bring up the concept, but are nervous about whether their lack of IT knowledge will make them appear incompetent and inexperienced.
It is unfortunate and unnecessary, because disruption is not about IT!
Basically, disruption is about preparing the organization to meet new challenges and win the war against competitors. And that is not a new issue for the top management.
In any business, value creation lies in the ability to put themselves in the customer’s place. It seems simple, but actually that is exactly what typically disrupts the markets, and means that the established businesses are lacking behind.
The digital trends are rewriting the rules of competition in many industries, and the digital movements stir up more innovation and business opportunities than before. However, disruption is only created when it is put in combination with a razor-sharp customer experience. This is where the winners are found – those companies that deliver something new and extra with a better customer experience.
In order to succeed with disruption you should muster all the vigor you can possibly find in your company. You will find that your company’s immune system fights change, and that your goal is typically unclear from the start. Therefore, you must set up to fail faster and learn from your mistakes. As an organization, you must unlearn some basic attitudes and see the world in a new way. This places huge demands on empowerment, change management and your management skills.
It is hardly surprising to you that the culture of a company is crucial to the ability to handle disruption. You probably also know that it is not easy to change a company culture, but you can come a long way by being aware of what needs to be unlearned in the organization, while you break down the hierarchy and send the old culture at the dump.
You must also define the new heroes and the stories across the company, and you also have to overhaul the composition of your employees and your management team to increase your chances of turning disruption into an advantage for the company.
If you as a leader is not comfortable with these management concepts, it is probably time for you to speed up. My core value is that any leader must have a strong anchoring in the practical handling of change management, culture management and empowerment in order to be successful.
Thomas Honoré is Chief Executive officer and President of Columbus.